13 May 2012

Spain marks anniversary of anti-austerity movement

1:35 pm on 13 May 2012

Tens of thousands of protesters have gathered in Spanish cities to mark the first anniversary of a protest movement against economic austerity.

The biggest rallies were in Barcelona and the capital, Madrid, where huge crowds gathered in the main square, the Puerta del Sol, on Saturday.

The Los Indignados movement (the Outraged) was formed out of anger at the impact of the country's deepest economic crisis in decades, the BBC reports.

Unemployment hit a record high in April and the government has recently announced fresh austerity measures.

Some have criticised the movement for having little impact on Spanish politics over the past year.

The government of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, elected last November, has introduced budget cuts, tax rises and deregulation of the labour market, angering Spanish unions.

Authorities in Madrid say they will prevent any protesters from staying overnight in the square.

Similar protests have been taking place in other European cities as part of a global day of action staged by the Occupy movement.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Moscow, New York, Athens, Frankfurt and London - where police arrested about a dozen protesters.