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Spanish miners' long march from coal face to capital

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Spanish miners' long march from coal face to capital
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They have made it to Madrid after nearly three weeks of walking.

Now striking Spanish miners are preparing for a massive rally in the capital to highlight their anger over big cuts in subsidies.

Two groups have marched up to 400 kilometres to the capital from separate northern regions, determined to protect their livelihoods in an ailing coal mining industry.

The target of their anger in this so-called ‘Black March’ is Spain’s conservative government.

“We are trying to defend our jobs because the mines are going down; there are about 16,000-17,000 people out of work. We won’t have anywhere to go,” said miner Juan Jose De Utrillas.

“They have ruined the health service, they are ruining education. In 6 months in power, they have ruined all sectors but, of course, they are rescuing the banks,” said fellow miner Alvaro Alguero, 35.

Many of Spain’s mines have already closed. Only 40 or so are left, mainly in the north, where clashes have marked two months of strike action.

Angry at austerity measures in their sector, unions are expecting some 25,000 people at a demonstration in central Madrid on Wednesday.