Nationwide austerity protests hit Spain

Nationwide austerity protests hit Spain

REUTERS / Sergio Perez

Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards have taken to the streets across the country to protest the latest batch of austerity measures. Public employees, trade union members and fed-up citizens marched in over 80 Spanish cities on Thursday.

Demonstrators carried flags and banners decorated with scissors, symbolizing the country’s harsh spending cuts. The streets of Madrid were paralyzed by the boundless crowds of people.

The protests were organized by unions, who have been outraged by the government’s new measures – which include an elimination of Christmas bonuses for civil servants. The demonstrations went on peacefully with no major incidents reported.

Earlier Thursday, Spanish Parliament approved a new package of spending cuts and tax hikes aiming to save $80 billion in a bid to take a bite out of the budget deficit. Since the measure was announced last week, Spain has witnessed a series of daily demonstrations, some of which have erupted into violence.

Europe’s fourth-largest economy also has the EU’s highest unemployment rate. About a quarter of working-age Spaniards are unable to find work.

Meanwhile, Germany’s lower house approved a $122 billion rescue package for Spanish banks in a bid to help the country cope with “excessive” market fears and prevent the eurozone’s debt crisis from spreading further.

Below is a Livestream of what is going on in Spain right now.

Watch live streaming video from spanishrevolutionsol at