Scores injured in Spain austerity march


Fifteen people were arrested and 39 people injured overnight in central Madrid, police said, after tens of thousands of people took part in a protest against the government’s latest austerity package.

Police fired rubber bullets to disperse groups of protesters in streets in and around the Spanish parliament building.

The protesters set fire to rubbish bins and threw cans and other objects at police

A spokeswoman said today that 10 police officers were among the injured.

The demonstration in the capital was one of 80 held in cities across Spain to protest against the austerity measures the conservative government says are necessary if Spain wants to avoid a bailout like Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

Finance ministers from the 17 euro countries are expected to approve conditions for a bailout loan for Spanish banks later today.

</p> <p>The document the ministers will consider calls for strict monitoring of Spain’s banks that receive aid.</p> <p>It also requires the Spanish government to present by the end of this month plans to reduce its budget deficit to under 3 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2014.</p> <p>The full amount of money needed to shore up Spain’s banks is unlikely to be known until September, after individual banks have been examined.</p> <p>The finance ministers have agreed to lend up to €100 billion, and the agreement to be considered today calls for an initial disbursement of €30 billion this month.</p> <p>Spanish banks are saddled with huge losses from soured real estate investments. The government cannot afford to rescue them, raising fears it may need rescue loans itself.</p> <p>Government has passed painful austerity measures — tax hikes and cuts to benefits, salaries and pensions — to reduce state debt and strengthen confidences in its finances.</p> <p>Spaniards have been hit hard, with unemployment around 25 per cent.</p> <p><strong>AP</strong></p>