POLICE are braced for rioting around the country with thousands expected to take to the streets for anti-austerity Mayday protests tomorrow.
On the same day last year, thousands marched – largely peacefully – through Madrid and Barcelona to rally against increasing austerity measures.
But this year the mood has turned more angry as increasing numbers of young Spaniards, in particular, are out of work.
All police leave has been cancelled and there will be thousands of extra officers on the beat.
The likelihood for unrest has increased, claims Spanish film-maker Pedro Almodovar.
“I think the country as a whole is worried about social unrest breaking out. I certainly am,” said the popular director.
“Every day that goes by, I get the impression that there is further provocation.
“I’d invite everyone to react, but in the most peaceful way possible,” he added
The news comes after police arrested 15 demonstrators following protests turned violent outside parliament last week.
Around 1,000 protestors gathered on the streets of the capital to call for the government to step down.
The violence erupted when demonstrators pulled down barriers and police charged with batons and fired blanks in the air.
Some 1,400 police had been deployed in anticipation of trouble and politicians cancelled the session for the day.
The demonstration follows the release of official figures showing the country’s unemployment rate has hit a record high.
The number of people without jobs has topped the six million mark for the first time, with the unemployment rate soaring to 27.2%.
This figure rises to 38% in Andalucia and over 40% in various provinces including Cadiz and Jaen.
Among young people from 16 to 24, the rate rises to over 57%. This figure climbs considerably higher in Andalucia.
The government has launched a raft of financial and labour reforms to reduce the swollen deficit, and has pursued a series of spending cuts and tax increases.
But in 2012, Spain still had the highest budget deficit among the 17 European Union countries that use the euro, with critics blaming the government for stifling economic growth.