Friday, May 11, 2012

Spanish students hold massive protest rallies against cut plans

Spanish students protesting in Valencia on February 29 against education cuts

Source: Press TV

Thousands of Spanish students have taken to the streets across the country to protest against the government’s new education cut plans.

University students, high school pupils and teachers joined the protests organized by the national Student’s Union in more than 50 towns across the country on Thursday, AFP reported.

"We have called this demonstration as an initial response to this attack on public education, which is without precedent in the past 35 years," said the union leader, Tohil Delgado.

Several hundred university students took to the central streets of the capital, Madrid, marching behind a banner that read, "Everyone together against the cutbacks".

A large group of high school students also held a demonstration outside the education ministry over the recent reforms that the protesters believed were ruining their education.

Schools and universities all over Spain have staged a series of demonstrations against the harsh austerity measures against education system by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Right after the last student protests on February 29, the government announced an additional three billion euros in cost-cutting reforms and increasing the tuition fees to an average 1,500 euros from 1,000 euros.

Education Minister Jose Ignacio Wert reiterated that the cut plans were needed to improve the quality of education and reduce the country’s public deficit.

"These are decisions that we are imposing because of the demands for fiscal consolidation, which the country has agreed too and which it must fulfill," he said.

The Spanish government has planned to shrink its public deficit to 5.3 percent of gross domestic product in 2012 from 8.5 percent in 2011.

Spain’s major teaching unions planned to hold a larger strike on May 22, which is expected to attract widespread support from anti-spending cuts protesters.

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