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Spain strikes over spending cuts

Spain strikes over spending cuts
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Spain’s first general strike in eight years is underway in protest at reforms to slash the eurozone’s third-biggest budget deficit.

Protesters took to the streets of Madrid on their bicycles as they tried to disrupt the flow of traffic.

Changes include cutting public sector pay, raising the retirement age and loosening the country’s labour laws.

Unions, which represent 16 percent of the workforce, say ten million are taking part in the strike.

Public transport has been hit by widespread major disruption and hundreds of flights have also been grounded.

It forms part of a wave of protests being held across the continent.

The Spanish government wants to reduce the deficit from 11.1 percent last year to six percent in 2011.

Investors fear that without the reforms, Spain would be plunged into a Greek-style debt crisis.

Our reporter in Madrid Javier Villagarcia said demonstrators are doing all they can to fight against the changes.

He said many people are sceptical about the plans. They believe that whatever happens, there will be no early or easy way out of the economic crisis.