March 16 - Hundreds of union workers demonstrate against European Union austerity policies in the Spanish capital. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Hundreds of Spaniards took to the streets in Madrid on Saturday to protest against the economic crisis and European Union pressure to implement austerity measures in the country. Under the slogan "Europe is for the people, not the markets" the union workers marched from Espana square to Sol square in central Madrid, chanting against PM Mariano Rajoy and the austerity polices introduced by the ruling People's Party. Since taking office in December 2011, Rajoy has announced a series of unpopular measures designed to slash 65 billion euros from the public deficit by 2014. Last year he announced a 3-point hike in the main rate of Value Added Tax on goods and services to 21 percent and cuts in unemployment benefits and civil service pay leading to a second general strike in less than 12 months. The government has trimmed the budget by tens of billions of euros this year and last, cutting public sector wages and limiting health and education spending at a time when the economy is shrinking by an estimated 1.5 percent per year. During five years of economic stagnation and recession, Spain's unemployment rate has risen to 26 percent - the highest level since the 1970s and one of the highest in the European Union. More than half of 18-25 year olds are out of work.