Burning tires and rubber bullets: Spanish miners rage against austerity (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Spanish miners raging against government cuts blocked off a highway with a burning barricade of tires before clashing with security forces in the country’s north.

Clad in masks and scarves to guard their identities, miners set a makeshift barricade of tires ablaze across a highway in the northern province of Asturias on Tuesday.

The miners then fell on the Spanish Civil Guard with a hail of rocks launched from slingshots as thick black smoke billowed behind them.

Equipped with riot gear, the civil guard responded by charging forward through the wall of smoke, shooting rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators.

Many strikers took the high ground by climbing a nearby hill, firing a homemade rocket launcher at the security forces below.

Others later retreated to a nearby forest to regroup and continue with further attacks.

The are no current reports of injuries.

The nationwide strike action has entered its second week amid massive budget cuts, which could see many mines close.

With state subsidies to take a massive 64 per cent cut – from 300 million euro to 110 million – the miners have vowed to fight again measures which could very well put them among the 24.4 per cent of Spaniards who are unemployed.

The clashes come amid a recently agreed 100-billion-euro bailout of Spain’s troubled banking sector that could generate further spending cuts and tax hikes to save the country’s flagging economy.

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