Since Tuesday, protests have taken a violent turn in Greece and Spain as tens of thousands of people gathered in Athens and Madrid to express discontent over new austerity measures.
In Athens, violence broke out after a 24 hour nationwide strike got underway. At least 50,000 marched towards the Greek parliament building in what was the first 24 hour strike since the election of a conservative-led coalition government earlier this year. Three major unions called the strike to protest against fresh wage and pension cuts, higher fuel taxes and planned job cuts for public sector workers.
In Madrid, thousands of demonstrators besieged the country’s parliament building, which was guarded by around 1,500 policemen. The unrest came ahead of a tough budget announcement by Spain’s Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, scheduled for Thursday.
Spanish newspapers are reporting that 64 people were injured, 27 of which were policemen. Demonstrators are calling for the protests to continue on Wednesday night and Saturday.
Click ahead for scenes from the protests.
Posted 26 Sept 2012
A protestor holds a burned American flag on Syntagma Square during a 24-hour labour strike September 26, 2012 in Athens, Greece. Today marks Greece's first big anti-austerity strike since the coalition government took power in June.
A demonstrator holds a black flag in front of riot police on September 26, 2012 in Athens, during clashes with demonstrators on a 24-hour general strike. Police in Athens clashed with hooded youths, mainly from anarchist groups (Zografou autonomous union)throwing firebombs on the sidelines of a large demonstration against a new round of austerity cuts.
A police officer throws a stone toward demonstrators on September 26, 2012, during a 24-hours general strike in Athens. Police let off tear gas and used batons to disperse protestors.
Police in Athens clashed with anarchist youths, dressed in black and equipped with gas masks for police tear gas, they threw firebombs and hurled rocks on the sidelines of a large demonstration against a new round of austerity cuts.
A fire bomb explodes behind a riot police squad on September 26, 2012 in Athens during clashes with demonstrators at a 24-hours general strike.
Demonstrators and police clash during a protest against the government's austerity measures in the city centre of Madrid on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. Thousands of demonstrators gathered there to protest and call for a referendum on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's austerity policies. More than 1,350 police were on the streets after the government called in reinforcements from other provinces, said a police official who declined to be named in line with policy.
Plain clothed police arrest a protester at Neptuno Square during demonstrations surrounding the Spanish Parliament on September 25, 2012 in Madrid. Thirty-five people were arrested in total.
A riot policeman stands behind an injured protester after clashes during a demonstration organized by Spain's 'indignant' protesters. They decry an economic crisis they say has 'kidnapped' democracy, on September 25, 2012 in Madrid.
Protesters lay on the ground after riot police charged over them at Neptuno Square during demonstrations near the Spanish Parliament on September 25, 2012, in Madrid. Demonstrators from various organizations, demanding a new constitutional process, marched from three different locations in the center of Madrid to the lower house in the Spanish parliament.