“Yes we can!” they shouted in central Madrid.
Striking miners marching to the Industry Ministry on Wednesday have already achieved their first objective – walking to the capital to defend their ailing sector.
And, as even more austerity was announced for Spain, demonstrators are determined that ministers must take note of their plight.
“They need to see this; they need to see that all of Spain is like this – not only the mines – everything is going badly,” said Manuel Alonso, a miner who has retired after 23 years of work
“The march ends here but the war has just began,” warned Tony, another miner, saying big cuts in state subsidies to the sector were decided without negotiations.
Miners from northern Spain walked up to 400 kilometres to Madrid. Fresh spending cuts announced in parliament appeared to strengthen the resolve of the thousands supporting them in the capital.
“It is the biggest injustice in this country against the working class … carrying out these cuts the government wants,” said demonstrator Fermin Yuste. “I believe it is more important right now to support workers – miners in this case – with government subsidies, than help bankers as they are doing.”
Part of the rally turned ugly as clashes saw a number of people injured. Stones, glass bottles and firecrackers were thrown at riot police who responded by charging the crowd, reportedly firing rubber bullets to disperse it.