On Sunday night, thousands joined a protest that started in front of the parliament and later stopped in front of the headquarters of Rajoy's People's Party.
Civil servants protested on Sunday in Madrid. Photo: EFE
Thousands demonstrated on Sunday evening (July 15) against a new set of austerity measures presented last week by Spain Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Since the measures were announced on Wednesday (July 11), the reforms have provoked protests throughout the country.
On Sunday night, thousands joined a protest that started in front of the parliament and later stopped in front of the headquarters of Rajoy's People's Party. The police was blocking the parliament's entrance, following some incidents last week.
Protesters chanted slogans against the country's politicians and asked the police forces to join them. Raul Perez from Madrid fire brigade said the civil servants shouldn't be the only one paying. "They are abusing us. Spain is in a difficult situation but the solution will not only come from the civil servants. Everyone has to help. Fiscal amnesty for those who stole money and for me, they lowered my salary three times already! What is this? This is why I think it's number)," Perez said.
Rajoy pledged 65 billion euros of savings from tax hikes and spending cuts in a painful package aimed at convincing the EU and investors his government is serious about reform.
Most of the money will come from changes to tax rates, including a 3 percentage point hike in value-added tax (VAT) rates, and spending cuts.
Civil servants will bear the brunt of the new austerity in the form of wage cuts, job reductions and the elimination of certain perks.
The government also took steps to crack down on fraud by the unemployed, reserving the right to cancel dole payments on evidence of any wrongdoing. Nearly one in four is unemployed in the country.
Speaking at a party rally in Granada, Rajoy said the unpopular reforms were necessary to put the country back on a path of growth and job creation.
Spain's two largest unions pledged widespread action in September to protest the measures, but stopped short of saying whether the movement will be in the form of a general strike.
The country's public sector workers have already called their own strike for September.