POLICE arrested 53 people at Madrid’s Complutense University, as the first day of a 48-hour protest gets underway.

Half of those arrested were students, and the remaining half were squatters and members of far-left groups, according to police sources.

The protests are part of a 48-hour strike, called by the Students’ Union, to protest cuts to education and funding and demand the resignation of the Minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert.

Most of the arrests were carried out after a group of demonstrators at the university set up barricades and set fire to rubbish bins.

The other arrests took place at the request of the university, which called for police assistance in clearing a student services building.

Students had occupied the building for a number of days in protest against tougher requirements for access to grants.

The university justified its decision to call for police assistance in a press release, saying it was merely ‘trying to restart the activities that are on offer in the building on a daily basis to benefit and attend to the students’.

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