World Bulletin / News Desk
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards marched against the centre-right government's latest austerity measures on Thursday evening, following more than a week of demonstrations across the country.
Parliament on Thursday approved a package of 65 billion euros ($80 billion) of spending cuts and tax hikes as part of measures to avert a full European bail-out, bringing more hardship in a severe economic downturn.
Demonstrators took to the streets in towns and cities across Spain, thronging the thoroughfares of Madrid and Barcelona, waving flags and bearing banners decorated with scissors to symbolise spending cuts.
In Madrid, crowds of firemen wearing helments and t-shirts with the slogan "Firemen in danger of extinction" blew horns and let off firecrackers. Earlier, policemen and members of the Civil Guard joined the protests.
"We have lived through bad times, but this takes the biscuit," said 58-year-old fireman Francisco Vaquero.
The sight of demonstrators on Spain's streets is nothing new. Young "Indignados" (Indignants) protested in their thousands against unemployment last year. One in four Spaniards is without work.
But since Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced spending cuts and tax rises last week there have been daily demonstrations drawing protests from public service workers like police that have previously stayed away.
Civil servants, whose pay was cut by up to 7 percent when their Christmas bonus was cancelled, have used their coffee breaks this week to protest outside the ruling People's Party (PP) headquarters in Madrid.
"We have to make some noise, because they're making fun of us and of all working people," said Iria, 34, an auditor in the treasury, during a rally outside the PP building on Wednesday.
LITTLE PREPARATION, PLENTY OF HAVOC
Public workers up to now had accepted several cuts or freezes in their salaries over the last three years with a sense of resignation. But the latest round of belt-tightening has spurred widespread anger.
"It has gone beyond an ideological issue ... and it's moved beyond the traditional groups that demonstrate. We have seen even the military threatening a demonstration," said Ramon Pacheco, a lecturer in Spanish politics at Kings College London.
Rajoy announced the cuts as thousands of miners and supporters, some of whom had marched hundreds of kilometres (miles) from northern Spain to protest against a reduction in coal subsidies, staged a rally that ended with police firing rubber bullets and making arrests.
Civil servants poured out of their offices to block Madrid's main arteries following Rajoy's announcement and have protested every day since, organising action through emails and by co-ordinating at work without any clear leaders.
On Friday, the Indignados turned out in support of the civil servants, a sign that disparate groups with different complaints are uniting in a common cause. That protest ended with scuffles between police and protesters in Madrid's Puerta del Sol, the centre of last year's protest movement.
RISKS FOR THE GOVERNMENT
Messages on social networks like Twitter and mobile messaging service WhatsApp call for impromptu demonstrations that attract hundreds of people in various cities every day.
One message doing the rounds urges citizens to gather in the main squares of their cities on July 27 and says: "The Spanish people are sick of all politicians. Let's make history!"
The cabinet on Thursday approved a parliamentary motion categorising "urban violence" as a specific crime, which could empower police to detain suspects preventively before being charged with the offence.
The party has more than three years of its term left, but analysts warn that if the crisis continues to escalate, Rajoy will be threatened.
"It's difficult to make predictions, but it's more than likely that this government term could come to an end sooner than expected," said Fermin Bouza, a sociologist at Madrid's Complutense University.
Borsa Istanbul releases integrated annual report for first time
Turkey has served as main route for refugees trying to cross into Europe
Turkish Central Bank fixes foreign exchange rates for rediscount credits repayments
Indices for service, retail trade, construction sectors fall in current month compared with April: Official data
Thanks to advances in shale gas production, notably in the northeast, America has been the world's largest natural gas producer since 2009 and extracted two billion cubic meters per day in 2017.
BIST 100 climbs 0.64 pct while USD/TRY exchange rate stands at 4.7805
Ankara vows to reach 2018 budget targets, says finance minister
American Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Wednesday he had initiated a so-called Section 232 investigation on auto trade after speaking with President Donald Trump on the matter.
BIST 100 climbs more than 1,100 points; foreign currency exchange rates drop against lira
BIST 100 index goes down 1.39 percent at close; Turkish lira continues to decline against other currencies
Salt Lake storage facility aims to have capacity of 5.4 billion cubic meters by 2023
BIST 100 falls 0.50 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.7560
Treasury reports central government debt stock in April rises 15.8 pct year-on-year, reaching $226.8 billion
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom spoke ahead of talks of the EU's 28 trade ministers to discuss an attempt to woo the US away from punishing steel and aluminium tariffs and win Europe a similar break as handed China.
BIST 100 rises 0.45 percent; US dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate stands at 4.5760