Scots and Spanish in Edinburgh standing in solidarity against the austerity
cuts imposed by the Spanish Government IMAGE: Lauter Latre
Scottish news: Scots join a Spanish rally in Edinburgh
by Koldo Sandoval and Laura Latre
Scots joined a rally in Edinburgh this week organized by “M 15 Indignados” (the May 15th indignants) and Real Democracy Scotland to support the Spanish miners by protesting against the austerity measures proposed by the Spanish Government.
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The rally took place in front of the Spanish Consulate in Edinburgh. About 70 people gathered to protest against the harsh austerity measures which now threaten Spanish miners and civil servants with unemployment.
Regis López, a member of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union said he joined the protest to show his support for the Spanish miners. He stated that "we have to condemn the overwhelming pressure of police control and repression" referring to the public order tactics deployed in the Spanish capital, Madrid, on Friday.
"It's also happening in many democratic countries around the world and it's exactly the same in the UK. Both Governments, Spanish and British, are cutting public services while they save the banks and feed that debt system" stated Gordon Davie, member of Socialist Workers Party. "We support strikes and demonstrations to claim the social justice we deserve", he added.
Spanish coal mining is a sector that has been publically subsidized for over a century. Despite the investment of €25bn since the late eighties the situation has been aggravated by a lack of modernisation and a decline in global demand.
"In the Spanish industry there's a need of coal, but they buy it from Colombia, Poland and some eastern countries with scarce production. We have to defend our country's industry because the difficulties of the miners are the difficulties that other sectors have to overcome" said protester Daniel Hernandez.
Former miners and trade union supporters in the UK last June launched the Spanish Miners’ Solidarity Committee in Sheffield, Yorkshire, to campaign for solidarity with the striking miners and their families in the Spanish Asturias, Aragon and Léon coalfields. In all there were over 80 demonstrations organised in Spain last Thursday against the austerity measures.
Outrage over the new wave of cuts, approved by the Spanish government, was expressed on Thursday through overwhelmingly peaceful street demonstrations. Thousands of people rallied yesterday in eighty demonstrations throughout Spain, shouting "Don’t sink the country" as an expression of opposition to the new austerity measures being implemented by the government of Mariano Rajoy.
The police estimate of the numbers who protested was 40,000, however the unions have stated that there was ten times that number of protesters. Unions, police, firemen, public workers, neighbourhood associations, 15M Indignados, third sector and various other organizations thronged the streets
Rajoy’s government are implementing measures such as the reduction of unemployment benefits, the reduction of Christmas pay of public employees, tax rises and further spending cuts. In Madrid alone, 1400 demonstrations have been organised since 1st of January 2012 according to Cristina Cifuentes, a Spanish Senate Depute. The Last protests in Spain saw 25 people arrested although many others were injured and required medical attention.
The Valencian regional Government has declared it needs a bailout. In a country in receivership, not only the Finnish don not believe that Spain can pay their debt According to many experts the Spanish economy is technically in default and some analysts argue that if Europe does not cancel a percentage of Spanish debt, the days of the Euro could be numbered.
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