Tens of thousands of Spanish doctors, nurses, and hospital staff have demonstrated in Madrid to protest government-imposed austerity measures.
Dressed in white and chanting, "Public health!" and "Health is a right. We are going to fight," the protesters on Sunday denounced austerity measures including budget cuts and plans to partly privatize some of the country's national health service.
"We have built hospitals and health centers with public money and the government is handing them over to its friends," said one protester.
On Saturday, thousands of police officers from all over Spain marched towards the government headquarters in the capital to protest salary cuts and thinning of their ranks.
Spain’s health sector has been hit hard by the austerity policies introduced by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, which is trying to bring down Spain’s fiscal deficit to more manageable levels.
The eurozone's fourth-largest economy must lower the deficit to 6.3 percent in 2012, 4.5 percent in 2013, and 2.8 percent in 2014. Economists, however, say those targets will be difficult to meet amid poor prospects for the country’s economic recovery.