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Protesters angry at Spain's 'hunger budget'

Protesters angry at Spain's 'hunger budget'
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Protesters marched through the streets of Madrid after Spanish lawmakers approved next year’s budget with 39 billion euros worth of painful cuts.

Some had carried candles as if taking part in a funeral march.

One protester foretold the financial crisis would be the end of the European Union. “It is just a matter of time before it explodes,” he said. “Because this is going to explode. It has exploded in Greece, it is exploding in Italy and in Portugal. And, as soon as Germany realises that they are also in a crisis, it will explode in all the countries of Europe.”

The government says the tough cuts are needed to fix the public finances of Spain, the eurozone’s fourth-biggest economy stricken by the collapse of a construction boom.

But critics described the measures as “a budget of hunger and misery”.

One charity warned the cutbacks could drive more than 40 percent of the population below the poverty line over the next 10 years.

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