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Spanish Miners Resist Savage Cutbacks

17/07/12

Miners march on MadridSince late May 2012, coal miners from the Asturias and León regions in northern Spain have been on strike in protest against the savage cutbacks and the severe Spanish austerity plan that has been forced upon the regions’ mining communities.

At present over 8,000 miners are on strike against Spain’s governing party, the Popular Party, and its Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The Spanish government intends to cut up to 64 percent of subsidies to the mining community, which would cost the industry dearly with the expected loss of 40,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Like other countries in the European Union, these cuts are been planned and organised at Troika level, by representatives of the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank who are all part and parcel of the capitalist elite’s failed Europe-wide austerity programme.

The Spanish coal miners’ militant protest action is being confronted by horrendous attacks from the Spanish police force, as was demonstrated on May 31 of this year, which resulted in the miners resorting to engineering improvised rockets to protect themselves and their supporters from attack.

Strikers with rocketsAs a result of the miners’ tactics of static pickets, protest marches, burning of barricades, blockading of railways and roads, and miners occupying the mines around Oviedo, the Spanish government has reinforced its will by pushing extra forces to combat the strike, including 250 Civil Guard officers, 100 GRS riot police and dozens of troops from the Public Safety Command Units.

Under the intensified police force tactics, men, women and children of the region are being harassed, attacked and intimidated in an attempt to break the will of the striking miners and to prevent the strike spreading on a national scale.

In July the miners brought the workers’ struggle to Madrid in a rally against austerity. The world’s media was there to witness the miners converge on the city, some walked the hundreds of miles to Madrid from the mines in Asturias to be joined by other miners and fellow workers donning their hard hats with lights beaming onwards. Thousands gathered to protest the austerity plan and to signal to the conservative Popular Party government that neither the miners nor workers will yield to state oppression.

For Ireland the best way to show international solidarity with the Spanish miners, the workers and unemployed of Spain and Greece and the struggling peoples across Europe is to resist austerity in Ireland both in the occupied Six Counties and in the Twenty-Six Counties. éirígí is calling on all working and unemployed people to attend the anti-austerity rally which is planned for tomorrow [Wednesday, July 18] in Dublin, assembling at 5pm at the central bank on Dame Street for a march to Leinster House.

 

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