As Thousands Protest, Spanish PM Backs Austerity

'This is about solving the situation once and for all,' says Mariano Rajoy
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 13, 2012 9:51 AM CDT
As Thousands Protest, Spanish PM Backs Austerity
A young demonstrator lays on the ground after being arrested as he an others are evicted from Puerta del Sol plaza in Madrid, Spain, during the early hours of Sunday, May 13, 2012. Spaniards angered by increasingly grim economic prospects and unemployment hitting one out of every four citizens protested...   (Alberto Di Lolli)

(Newser) – Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy today defended his government's harsh austerity measures aimed at correcting Spain's grim economic forecast, one day after tens of thousands of Spaniards took to the streets in protest of his handling of the country's worst crisis in decades. Rajoy said the measures were "necessary" given Spain's dire situation, which includes a staggering unemployment rate of almost 25%. "We are doing what is needed and that means taking difficult decisions," said Rajoy. "This is about solving this situation for once and all."

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The government's cuts brought waves of Spaniards out on the streets of various cities Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of the birth of the "Indignant Movement." A total of 72,000 protested across Spain. Police said they arrested 18 protesters who spent all night in the Spanish capital's Puerta del Sol area, clamoring for an end to what they consider to be hardline measures by the government. Protests are expected to continue until Tuesday. (Read more Spain stories.)

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