Deep cuts: miners protest black future for Spanish coal
Thousands of Spanish miners have converged on Madrid to protest the massive cuts to subsidies received by coal mining companies. Some miners had marched for three weeks from the northern coal fields, travelling 400km to join the rally which was punctuated with violent outbursts.
Reports from Madrid said police fired rubber bullets at the miners, multiple arrests were made and that over 70 people including police, protestors and onlookers were injured as the forces came together in turbulent scenes on the streets outside the Industry Ministry building.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is extending Spain’s severe austerity measures, slashing subsidies paid to coal mining companies by 63%. Government support will fall from €301m in 2012 down to €111m.
The move comes as Spain faces massive unemployment at 25%. There are around 9,000 coal miners in Spain today. This compares to 20 years ago when there were nearly 30,000 alone in the industry’s northern stronghold, Asturias, The Guardian says.
On the day of the protests, Mr Rajoy announced a new round of austerity measures aimed at cutting a further €65bn from the state budget over the next two and a half years.