Thousands of people have taken to streets in Madrid to demonstrate against the government’s austerity measures. The protesters, who were making noise by banging on pots and pans, chanted "Don't owe, won't pay,” on Saturday. "The idea is to make some noise so they hear us but we already know that these leaders don't have ears for us," one of the protesters said. The march started from the local offices of the European Union in Madrid, and continued across the city's Puerta del Sol.
“None of us pushed the banks to lend huge sums of money to greedy property speculators, yet we are being asked to pay for other’s mistakes,” another protester said.Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s administration has implemented tough austerity measures over its nine months in office in a bid to tackle a debt repayment crunch and a bailout threat. The Spanish government has submitted the 2013 draft budget, which will slash the overall spending by 40 billion euros ($51.7 billion), freeze the salaries of public workers, and reduce spending for unemployment benefits. Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs. NT/AS