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Millions in the streets: Spain protests cuts to education (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Published time: May 22, 2012 17:15
Edited time: May 22, 2012 22:14

A striking teacher holds up a blackboard in front of a policeman during a protest in front of the education ministry in Madrid (Reuters/Andrea Comas)

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The majority of Spain's educational institutions have closed as teachers and students take to the streets to defend their rights. The government has cut billions of euros from educational sector expenses.

­The strike is taking place on all levels, from elementary schools to universities in all but three of Spain's 17 regions. As many as a million teachers and seven million students are expected to take part in Tuesday's demonstrations.

If the austerity package goes through, it will reduce government subsidies on education by more than 20 per cent. The measure, unions say, will result in worsening educational conditions, mass teacher layoffs and higher tuition costs.

A policeman identifies a striking teacher during a protest in Madrid (Reuters/Andrea Comas)
A policeman identifies a striking teacher during a protest in Madrid (Reuters/Andrea Comas)

­"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," a student demonstrator said.

The crisis unfolding in the Eurozone has pushed the Spanish government to introduce a new round of austerity measures in addition to €30 billion cuts in 2012 alone.

Reuters/Andrea Comas
Reuters/Andrea Comas

­The government’s harsh policies have raised unemployment rates to 25 per cent; the rate is two times higher among Spaniards under age 25, a statistic that has caused outrage in Spanish society.

The country has seen numerous mass protests and strikes since the beginning of this year. The latest round of demonstrations in mid-May gathered about 100,000 people in 80 cities across Spain.

Reuters/Andrea Comas
Reuters/Andrea Comas
Students and teachers demonstrate in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)
Students and teachers demonstrate in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)
Strike in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)
Strike in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)
Strike in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)
Strike in Barcelona (AFP Photo/Lluis Gene)