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article imageMillions protest in Spain over education austerity cuts

By Anne Sewell     May 22, 2012 in World
Madrid - Most educational institutions, at all levels, closed today as teachers and students took to the streets to protest austerity cuts.
Through the recent austerity measures, the Spanish government plans to cut billions of euros from educational sector expenses.
Up to one million teachers and seven million students, from every level - elementary schools to universities - are out protesting these cuts. The strike is taking place in all but three of the seventeen regions of Spain.
With Spain struggling to cut its deficit, with fear of needing a bailout as Greece, Ireland and Portugal have done, billions of euros in cuts have been planned. This will mean fewer teachers, more students per class, and less extra-curricular activities. It will also mean higher costs for university tuition, which could possibly make such tuition out of the range of the average Spaniard.
Overall the cuts would reduce government subsidies on education by more than 20%.
Unions say that worsening educational conditions and mass teacher layoffs can only make the situation in the country worse.
A student demonstrator in Madrid was heard to say, "They are stealing from us in every possible way, and that can't be allowed to happen. I don't know if we will get something out of [the strike], but at least it's something."
Strike by teachers and students in Spain  May 22  2012
Strike by teachers and students in Spain, May 22, 2012
Rep├║blica Espa├▒ola
Typically Spanish state that there was mixed reporting on the strike, with Unions stating a participation of 80-90%, and the Ministry for Education stating that participation was only 19% across the country.
In Barcelona, some 150,000 teachers, union members and students participated in mass protests. In the morning the protesters blocked the trains and also the B-30 and AP-7 roads for a time to prevent people getting into town.
21 demonstrations were organised across the Madrid region alone and in Somosaguas, several students were arrested for pulling down a police barricade.
The recent harsh measures taken by the Spanish government have caused unemployment rates to rise to 25%, with 50% in the case of Spaniards under 25. This has caused outrage in Spanish society with numerous mass strikes and protests being held since the beginning of the year.
The last major demonstrations in mid-May, which included the 12m global movement and the first anniversary of the 15m movement, saw around 100,000 people out in the streets in 80 cities countrywide.
More about Spain, Education, Cuts, Budget, Austerity
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