Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spain teeters on the edge of chaos

MADRID — Spanish workers enraged by austerity-driven labor reforms to prevent the nation from becoming Europe’s next bailout victim slowed down the country’s economy in a general strike Thursday, closing factories and clashing with police as the new-center right government tried to convince investors the nation isn’t headed for a financial meltdown.

Tens of thousands held protest marches in Madrid and other cities, and the demonstrations turned violent in Spain’s second largest city of Barcelona, where hooded protesters smashed bank and storefront windows with hammers and rocks and set fire to streetside trash containers. Television images also showed the Barcelona demonstrators throwing rocks at riot police vans, and hitting them as they sped near the crowds.
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