The Spanish government on Wednesday was facing more
protests against its budget cuts, with thousands of people
demonstrating during a general strike in the northern Basque region
One person was slightly injured in Bilbao when police used rubber bullets against pickets trying to prevent the opening of a department store. Demonstrators meanwhile carried a banner through the city that read: "No to cuts. For labour and social rights."
The Basque trade unions ELA and LAB said 56 per cent of industrial companies had joined the strike. In the Basque province of Vizcaya, employers' representatives put participation among all companies at 15 per cent.
The strike follows an anti-austerity rally on Tuesday in Madrid, which drew an estimated 6,000 people and sparked clashes with police.
Sixty-four people were injured, one of them seriously, according to police sources. Twenty-eight were detained.
While the left-wing opposition criticized the police response as excessive, Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said it was adequate given "violence" from the protesters and their plans to surround parliament.
The rally had been called by websites accusing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of betraying promises he made before the November election, and calling on the government to resign.
A new rally was planned for Wednesday evening.
Rajoy's government has faced growing anger over budget cuts in social spending and in public workers' salaries as it struggles to trim the 8.9-per-cent budget deficit and to ward off a full-scale international bailout.
The eurozone has already pledged up to 100 billion euros (130 billion dollars) for Spain's ailing banks.
Tens of thousands of people rallied in Madrid on September 15, complaining the government was cutting spending on health and education while rescuing banks.
On March 29, Rajoy faced a general strike which brought hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to the streets across Spain.
The country's economy is expected to shrink by about 2 per cent this year, while unemployment has climbed to nearly 25 per cent.
Most Popular Stories
- SEO Traffic Lab Celebrate Wins at Digital Marketing Event 'Internet World 2013' in London
- Social Media Initiatives Should Follow Customers' Lead
- Apple CEO: Offshore Units Not a 'Tax Gimmick'
- U.S. Senate Accuses Apple of Large-scale Tax Avoidance
- UTEP Water Recycling Project Wins Venture Titles
- Marketo Makes a Mint in IPO: Stock Shoots Up More than 50 Percent
- Bieber Booed at Billboard Awards
- Crude Oil Up, Gasoline Down
- Austin Startup Compare Metrics Raises $3.5 Million for Expansion
- Why So Many Top 'Car Guys' Are Actually Women