Thousands of police officers from all over Spain have marched toward the government headquarters in the capital Madrid to protest against austerity measures, Press TV reports. The protesters on Saturday called for more funds needed to tackle rising crime rates and the supply of necessary equipment needed for their protection during operations. They also censured lowered wages. The march started from the Madrid Police Department, with the protesters blocking part of a main street in the capital.
With a 22-percent cut-off in their salaries, the police officers criticized working conditions, saying they could not work or protect society properly under the current situation.“We don’t have the material to work. We don’t have body armors. We don’t have gloves to work. [Spain’s police] have to buy all the material to work on the streets,” said one of the demonstrators. The Spanish government has imposed harsh austerity measures to save around 150 billion euros between 2012 and 2014. The demonstrators also read a manifesto on Saturday and said the savings for the government mean worse service for the Spanish society. “Cutting on police wages, you must ask yourself what kind of police you want. It’s very de-motivating. What quality of police do you want? What kind of security for the members in Europe do you want? Police officers must be able to live on the wages. If they can’t do that, what kind of police are you creating?” another protester said. The worsening debt crisis has forced the 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. On November 14, labor union members held a sit-in in Madrid, which led to clashes with police. Over 140 people were arrested and more than 70 others injured. AO/HSN