While America’s establishment media remained fixated on Mitt Romney’s Big Bird–related faux pas and President Obama’s lackluster performance during the presidential debate, tens of thousands of people marched through Madrid and Barcelona in opposition to the Spanish government’s recent announcement that there will be further austerity measures inflicted upon citizens.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that the government would be cutting an extra 13 billion euros in 2013. In total, the government plans to cut 150 billion euros from the budget over the next three years.
“They are taking away the health system. They are taking away our basic rights and that’s not fair. Those who started the fraud should pay for it,” said one protester.
“They want to ruin the country. We have to stop them,” a banner read, and protesters chanted slogans against cuts, waving signs that read, “Youth without jobs, society with no future.” Spain’s unemployment rate has been hovering around 25 percent, but youth unemployment surpasses 50 percent.
“They are abusing the lower social classes,” 54-year-old teacher Luis Diaz said to the AP. “By backing banks, they are torturing the working class and badly affecting public education, health care and pensions when what they should be doing is exactly the opposite.”
Euro News spoke with retail worker Carmen Lopez, who joined a rally in the Spanish capital Madrid.
“They are reclaiming almost all social benefits. It’s shameful that we are losing everything. We threw out Franco’s government and we’re going to do the same with this one,” said Lopez.
Spain’s budget has already been criticized by the central bank chief — not because it will inflict damage upon Spain’s citizens — but because the chief thinks the finance ministry’s forecasts for economic growth are too optimistic.
Spanish labor unions have threatened a national strike in November unless the right-wing government cancels the planned cuts.