Tens of thousands of public sector workers have taken to the streets in protest at tax rises and spending cuts in Spain.
Firefighters, nurses and teachers were among those demonstrating against the government’s €65 billion austerity package, which is set to include a cut in civil service wages.
The rally in Madrid, organised by trade unions, saw crowds chanting anti-government slogans, blowing whistles and waving banners that read ‘Enough!’.
“We cannot and will not accept more cuts,” said Angel Arriero, a 39-year-old information engineer at a government ministry, who was joined on the march by his wife and young daughter.
“It’s all too much for me to handle,” he added, holding a sign that read ‘No mas!’.
A 52-year-old doctor from Valencia, who gave his name as Jorge added that his salary had shrunk by around 30% as a result of the austerity measures.
“There is no area of my work which has not been been affected by the cuts,” he said.
“It’s a drastic reduction in the quality of service for patients, it’s terrible.”
But the government insists the cuts are necessary if Spain is to make a full recovery from the financial crisis.
“These sacrifices are absolutely unavoidable if we are to correct the difficult economic climate we are experiencing,” Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said.
“We are laying the foundations for a recovery.”