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Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:30PM
Anti-austerity protesters in Madrid on September 15, 2012.

Anti-austerity protesters in Madrid on September 15, 2012.

Thousands of demonstrators have once again taken to the streets in Spain’s capital Madrid in protest against the government’s austerity measures. The protesters from across the country gathered in central Madrid and streets leading to the central Plaza Colon. Union leaders are expected to make speeches against Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s harsh budget cuts. The rally comes a day after the Spanish government announced plans to unveil a reform program by the end of the month, in a move to avoid a bailout package. Protesters say the cuts will only lead to further tax increases, job losses, and wage cuts. Spain, the fourth-largest economy in the eurozone, is striving to tackle a debt repayment crunch and a bailout threat. The country has to make about EUR-30-billion debt repayments in October and is wrestling with soaring borrowing costs. Spain is struggling with a deepening recession and an unemployment rate of around 25 percent. Spain, Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Portugal are all in recession and all five are receiving financial assistance from European bailout funds. The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries. SZH/JR
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