Spanish police prepare to fire rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrating miners in Campomanes, near Oviedo in northern Spain, May 30, 2012.
Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:39PM GMT
Striking Spanish coal miners protesting against cuts in government subsidies to the mining sector have set up burning barricades and launched home-made rockets at riot police during a demonstration in northern Spain.
On Tuesday, thousands of angry coal mine workers in the northern provinces of Asturias and Leon blocked roads and highways with burning tires to press their demand that the government reverse its decision to cut mining subsidies, the Associated Press reported.
As riot police moved in, demonstrators used sling shots and fired home-made rockets at police. Police retaliated with tear gas grenades and baton charges as they tried to bring the situation under control.
There have been no reports of injuries so far.
Some 8,000 mineworkers from over 40 coal mines in northern Spain are staging a nationwide strike against the government’s decision to slash subsidies to the mining sector by 64 percent. The nationwide strike action has now entered its second week.
Meanwhile, some Spanish miners are continuing their three-week underground sit-in, refusing to come up from the mines until the government promises not to cut mining subsidies.
The conservative government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is reducing the total subsidies for the mining sector from 300 million euros last year to 110 million euros in the 2012 budget.
Coal miners say the reduction in subsidies would lead to the collapse of the country’s coal mining industry because without government aid, Spanish coal would be more expensive than imported coal.
Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking with it millions of jobs. In May, Spain fell back into recession.