Spanish parliament passes $80 billion austerity package
Anger over austerity measures spilled into the streets across Spain on Thursday after parliament passed an $80 billion austerity package. Tens of thousands of protesters across 80 cities demonstrated against the imminent cuts, which include pay cuts for civil workers, an increase in sales tax, benefits cuts and a raise in retirement age.
The austerity measures were announced last week by prime minister Mariano Rajoy. Since the announcement, protests have broken out on an almost daily basis. Thursday’s demonstrations, however, were the largest–swelling after Rajoy officially passed the measures through parliament with the aid of his center-right Popular Party.
Meanwhile, Germany’s parliament approved a Spanish ‘rescue package’ worth up to $122 billion for Spain’s banks.
During the protests, a blockade of civil servants closed off several main roads in Madrid, while protesters chanted, “Hands up, this is a robbery!”
Outside of the People’s Party headquarters, protesters blew whistles and chanted “We’ve had it up to here.”
“We are two and a half million votes. I hope they are thinking about that,” said Jose Luis Martinez, 52, who works at the interior ministry.
Eurozone leaders are expected to finalize the German led bank bailout by Friday afternoon.