Spanish police protest the loss of Christmas bonus

MADRID -- About 3,000 off-duty police officers are demonstrating in Madrid to protest the government's austerity measures, including the cancellation of their Christmas bonuses.

Saturday's protest blocked one of the capital's central boulevards opposite the Interior Ministry. On-duty police officers watched as their plainclothes colleagues demonstrated by throwing loud and smoky fireworks and chanting slogans.

A demonstrator was medically treated after a firework he was set to throw exploded in his hand.

One Spaniard in four is now unemployed as the economic crisis tightens its grip. The government is under pressure to seek aid to ease debts while the country sinks into its second recession in three years.

Troubled banks have been granted a (EURO)100 billion ($130 billion) bailout facility, and many regional governments also are struggling.