News24

Spain students protest cuts

2012-02-29 16:24

Madrid - Students across Spain staged sit-ins and planned mass demonstrations on Wednesday over crisis spending cuts and recent police violence against protestors.

Students' and pupils' associations called marches in towns across the country to protest the austerity measures they say are disrupting classes and cutting thousands of teaching jobs.

The demonstrations were also billed as a gesture of solidarity with students in Valencia, the region worst hit by the education funding crisis, where police beat youths in bloody baton charges during demonstrations in recent weeks.

They are the latest of a string of protests driven by anger over budget cuts and reforms that the conservative government says are necessary to strengthen the economy and curb unemployment, which is at nearly 23%.

"We did not create this crisis but we are paying for it in every sense," said the leader of the national students' union Tohil Delgado ahead of Wednesday's marches.

"They are making cuts in public education, they are giving us no option to work, and on top of this when we protest democratically they beat us with complete impunity."

He said protests were scheduled in about 40 towns across Spain.

In Madrid, various students' groups were due to march to the education ministry from 11:00 (10:00 GMT), coinciding with similar actions in Valencia, Barcelona and other towns.

In Valencia students spent the night in the university, Spanish media reported - part of a movement dubbed "Tomalafacultad" (Seize the faculty) on the online networking service Twitter.