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'No to education cuts!' Madrid rocked by new wave of student protests

Published time: March 28, 2014 09:27
Edited time: April 04, 2014 09:28

Students hold placards as they demonstrate in the streets of Madrid marking the second day of strikes against the government's cuts in education spending on March 27, 2014. (AFP Photo / Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

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Thousands of university and high school students flooded central Madrid in a second day of strikes Thursday organized to protest massive cuts in education funding imposed by PM Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party government.

The protests were called by the Students’ Union, which urged students to rally against cuts in spending on schools and universities and increases in education fees. The students also demanded the resignation of Education, Culture and Sports Minister Jose Ignacio Wert, who introduced the reforms.

The demonstrators started burning bins early Thursday morning at Madrid’s Complutense University, which ranks as the top educational establishment in Spain. One person was arrested "for possession of flammable material," AFP reported a police spokeswoman as saying.

In the afternoon, hundreds of protesters gathered in the center of the Spanish capital, shouting slogans such as: “No to education cuts!"

"We don't want to pay your debt with health and education," the protesters shouted, addressing the education minister, AFP reported.

"It makes me sad because they are not giving everyone the opportunity to study," one demonstrator, 18-year-old high school student Karim Martinez, was reported as saying. “They are raising fees and cutting scholarships. A lot of parents do not have the money to pay for university.”

According to the protesters, the impact of the measures on school funding and resources has become unbearable.

A student reacts as she demonstrates in the streets of Madrid marking the second day of strikes against the government's cuts in education spending on March 27, 2014. (AFP Photo / Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

"The situation now is so unsustainable that there is nothing left for us to do but fight," said Marta Valenzuela, a 20-year-old criminology student. "It’s my family that has to pay, and we're having to make big sacrifices," she said, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, at least 54 people detained after similar protests Wednesday were released on bail Thursday, the police spokeswoman said. They were arrested after they put up barricades and started burning containers to block access to the campus at Complutense University.

Madrid has been hit by a wave of rallies starting March 22, when thousands of Spaniards from all over the country gathered in the center of the capital protesting against poverty and EU-imposed austerity which later turned into violent clashes with police.

Riot police officers stand beside a barricade with their shields at Complutense University on the second day of a 48-hour student strike to protest against rising fees and educational cuts in Madrid March 27, 2014. (Reuters / Andrea Comas)

In 2012, Rajoy’s government introduced a set of changes to the country's education system that introduced new grading systems and further funding cuts aimed at saving 150 billion euros ($206 billion) to stabilize public finances in the country.

Students demonstrate in the streets of Madrid on March 27, 2014 marking the second day of strikes against the government's cuts in education spending. (AFP Photo / Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

The education cuts come as the country’s Finance Ministry is struggling to lower deficit levels to within European Union limits and to reduce the soaring unemployment rate, which has risen to 26 percent.

A student raises a flare during a protest at Complutense University on the second day of a 48-hour student strike to protest against rising fees and educational cuts in Madrid March 27, 2014. (Reuters / Andrea Comas)

Madrid, March 27, 2014 (AFP Photo / Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

Comments (6)

 

Michael 29.03.2014 01:47

The sad thing is that when Ukrainians join the EU and they learn the nightmare it will bring them and they eventually try to join the Custom's Union and realign to Russia they will have become so culturally alien thanks to years of Western "culture" imparted upon them that Russia will probably want to reject them. Hopefully those with sense blame their ancestors for ruining their futures by forcing them to grow up in austerity-ridden Ukraine, oh well...

 

Peter Anderson 28.03.2014 21:51

John Smith 28.03.2014 11:02

Germany is booming, they are building new offices and homes in nearly every town throughout the country, and the rest of Europe is suffering massive budgets cuts, seems very strange to me.

  


Th e reason is that the poorer countries such as spain and greece are keeping Gemans currency lower than it naturaly would be. There export market of high end engineered goods, are kept at competative prices.

Spa in and Greece ecomony relies on tourism and argriculture, the Euro being hailed artificaily high by Germany is killing them.

 

DoAsk DoTell 28.03.2014 17:51

Blame the Shadow Money Lender masters & their puppets EU dictators, Spain 0.01% (the Status Quo, the Establishment)...

There is no crisis, just a banker-driven recession in a larger revolution of the Mabster to turn the world into Neo-Feudalism.

Last chance to join the world 99% for worldwide democracy & peace & justice & fairness. End the Dollar/Euro/Nato Regime now. Sacrifice short-term pain for long-term gains. Boycott Monopoly Multinationals now.

We are not powerless. Once we accept our responsibility to care for our future, we become powerful & wiser!

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