Thousands from across Spain gather in Madrid to protest against austerity in what's come to be called ''Dignity Marches.'' Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Thousands of protesters from across Spain converged in Madrid on Saturday (March 21) calling for an end to EU-imposed austerity which has deepened poverty amongst the worst-off. The so-called "Dignity Marches" brought 27 different groups from all regions of Spain to the capital calling for jobs, affordable housing and food and urging the government not to pay its international debt. Holding placards with slogans against corruption, unemployment and evictions, the protesters marched from Madrid's Atocha rail station to Colon square in the heart of the Spanish capital. Spain's tentatively exited a recession in the second half of 2013, boosted by recovering domestic demand. But unemployment has hit one in four as a labor reform reduced the cost of firing workers while a hoped-for boost to hiring has yet to materialize. Sara Carrasquilla, an unemployed 46-year-old woman who traveled to Madrid from Toledo said she decided to join the protest because she is tired of austerity. "I came from Toledo. We have to come to Madrid because we cannot stay at home knowing that they are preventing us from having an appropriate health system, education and the country is falling apart. Everybody has to come to Madrid to complain. We are outraged," she told Reuters. Another demonstrator from Toledo, Emiliano Gomez, said he joined the march because he is worried about an uncertain future for his children. "We are people without hope, without dignity and that is exactly what we need: to fight for our dignity which means we are fighting for our future and for our children's future." A housing bubble burst more than five years ago, forcing a 41-billion euro ($56 billion) bailout of the country's banks and making it impossible for many homeowners to make ends meet. The government introduced public sector austerity to whittle down the public deficit, provoking widespread anger amongst middle and low-income families.