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A coffin symbolising the death of Spain’s civil service took pride of place at the latest in what are now daily demonstrations against the country’s austerity measures.

Chanting “Hands up it’s a hold up”, at least a thousand protesters filled the streets of the capital, Madrid.

The latest round of cuts announced by Mariano Rajoy’s government include raising VAT and cutting public workers’ Christmas bonuses.

Miguel Ángel Lorenzo of the CGT Union was particularly angry about that. “They’re cutting the Christmas bonus of people who earn 1,200 euros after 20 years of service,” he said.

“We consider the type of cuts made are totally unfair at a national level in the way they affect the unemployed, the handicapped and us,” added a fireman.

It is the first time firefighters have taken part in the protests, joining nurses, teachers and ordinary Spaniards who say the austerity measures demanded by the EU and the IMF go too far.

An official day of action is planned for Thursday.

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