Europe

Call to end miners' strike in Spain after attacks

  • 14 June 2012
  • From the section Europe

Officials in northern Spain have condemned violence at a miners' strike, which has seen attacks on police and offices of the national ruling party.

The administration in Asturias also urged the government in Madrid to revise its target of slashing subsidies to the mining industry by 64%.

Thousands of miners have been on strike in northern Spain for weeks in protest at the cuts.

A rail passenger was injured when his train hit logs placed on a line.

The man, 44, was taken to hospital with a head wound after the incident in Gijon, where miners are on strike, the Spanish news agency Efe reports.

Mining has been a key element in the local economy in the provinces of Asturias and Leon for centuries.

Many miners fear that government plans to reduce subsidies from 300m euros (£242m; $376m) to 110m euros will doom their industry.

Under EU rules, Spain needs to reduce its fiscal deficit from 8.9% of GDP to 3% by 2013.

'Scope for dialogue'

Asturias regional government spokesman William Martinez said serious incidents in recent days included attacks on several offices of Spain's ruling Popular Party.

He said the head of the region, Socialist Javier Fernandez, had asked Spanish Industry Minister Jose Manuel Soria for a meeting to resolve the conflict.

Mr Martinez said the regional government believed there was "scope for dialogue and reaching an agreement".

In dramatic scenes in recent days, strikers fought to drive back riot police trying to break up their protests with tear gas and baton charges.

"We have been using lengths of pipe to aim sky rockets, slings, golf ball launchers and even a home-made device to fire potatoes to keep the police away," veteran miner Gerardo Cienfuegos, 39, told the Associated Press news agency.

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