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7 Feb, 2013 20:02

Hundreds of protesters march in Spain against new wave of cuts

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Spain for a third day to protests against a fresh wave of austerity cost cutting measures in education and health which will see free prescriptions axed and a hike in university fees.

Protests have taken place across Spain, as people voiced their anger about the harsh austerity measures gripping the country and a new round of cuts, which will effect education and health. In Murcia, in the south of Spain, some 200 students staged a walk out to protest against a proposal to privatize sate education. Some of the students held placards, which read, “You don’t let us work and you don’t let us study”.Today’s protests come after thousands of students marched through Madrid the capital on Wednesday, and is part of a three day strike launched by students on Tuesday. A march planned this evening in Madrid and in other cities. People are also angry at the plan to increase university fees and to privatize universities. The national students’ union says the government has cut 5 billion euros from spending on schools and universities since May 2012, while university fees have soared by as much as half in some regions. There are also plans to end free prescription drugs for pensioners. “[These reforms] will take us back to the education system of the 1950s… to the university fees that were impossible to pay for working class families. It will make higher education only for the elite,” the General Secretary of Madrid’s Student Syndicate, Zoil Delgado told Actualidad RT.As well as far reaching and severe cuts in most areas of public life, Spain is facing record unemployment levels of more than 25%, while youth unemployment is at 55%. Prime Minster Mariano Rajoy’s conservative government is trying to reduce public spending by 10 billion euros a year. Rajoy has promised to cut the Spanish deficit by 30 billion euros a year in an effort to stop Spain becoming the next epicenter of the euro crisis, a spot currently occupied by Greece.