Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards marched Thursday in the first general strike against strangling austerity, only the most recent challenge to the new conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fending off resistance from all sides.
”œWe can’t take this anymore,” says Eva CaÃ±amares, a station manager in Madrid’s subway system. Her 11 and 9-year old children were passing out union flags beside her in the central Puerta del Sol plaza, where tens of thousands chanted against government economic policies.
”œI’m here for my children. They are taking away all our rights and this also affects them,” Mrs. CaÃ±amares says, echoing the strike’s slogans. ”œThey want to do away with everything…. The government just wants to take away everything and not even negotiate.”
By early evening, there were more than a dozen injuries, dozens of arrests, and violent clashes reported throughout Spain, but these were the exceptions to the mostly peaceful march.