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    Spanish Miners Clash With Police


    by NTDTelevision

    Miners clashed with police in Madrid on Thursday. It happened at the end of a march by thousands of demonstrators protesting against cuts to state subsidies for the coal sector.

    [Carlos Verdiell, Protester]:
    "The cuts will paralyze business in all of Spain. This means the closure of the mining sector. We are talking about some seven or eight thousand direct jobs. If we add the indirect jobs, we are talking about 30,000 people joining the strike.”

    Police fired rubber bullets and protesting miners threw firecrackers.

    Many of the protesters said people would be driven out of mining communities.

    [Adrian Marmeleiro, Protestor]:
    "If we don't get what is being asked for, we will all end up on the street. If we all end up on the street, there will be no one left (living) in mining communities. Because everyone will leave to look for work elsewhere. It will be a disaster for the region.”

    Spain's two largest unions said 10,000 miners mainly from northern Spain travelled by bus to Madrid to protest against cuts to grants which are the life-blood of some small mining communities.

    Spanish coal communities receive aid nationally and from the EU in order to compete with expensive coal from abroad and to re-train people when mines are closed.

    The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has cut coal subsidies this year to 111 million euros, down from 301 million euros last year, as it aims to cut its deficit.

    Thursday's protest was the latest action by miners who have been on strike for several days.