Scuffles in Madrid over fresh austerity measures

Scuffles in Madrid over fresh austerity measures
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Anger over Spain’s sweeping new austerity measures has spilled out onto the streets of Madrid.

Scuffles broke out as crowds demonstrated against wage cuts and tax increases.

It is claimed that one of the protesters was beaten up by police.

“The person who was arrested got a horrifying beating from one of the riot police officers. He gave him a terrible beating, basically punching his face,” said one of the demonstrators. Spain’s under pressure to get its public finances in order amid market concerns over the state of the country’s banks and wider economy.

The conservative government has come under mounting criticism that the austerity measures are hitting the middle and working classes the hardest.

The aim of the fresh package of cuts is to chop 65 billion euros off the budget deficit – the country’s biggest reduction plan in recent history.

The government approved the savings drive on Friday, as Spain struggles under a recession and an unemployment rate of almost 25 per cent.

“If the finances are seen as unsustainable, the recession will be a lot worse than we have at the moment,” said Luis de Guindos, Economy Minister.

While tax increases will take effect in September, other reforms will be left for later in the year.