Thousands of people protested in Madrid on Saturday against the “troika” of international powers whose policies in the financial crisis they blame for grinding economic hardships.
It was one of a string of such demonstrations planned by left-wing groups across Europe.
The troika of international lenders — the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank — have imposed strict conditions on countries such as Greece and Portugal in exchange for bailout funds.
They have also overseen tough economic reforms introduced by Spain’s conservative government and a bailout for the country’s banks that has handed 40 billion euros ($52 billion) to the sector.
He blamed the troika for policies introduced in Spain’s crisis under pressure from Brussels, such as labour reforms and cuts and privatisations of public services, which the government says are needed to stabilise public finances.
“Governments in Europe do what the troika tells them at the cost of impoverishing the working classes,” Herguezabal told AFP.
Similar marches were called in cities elsewhere in Spain and across Europe.
In Frankfurt earlier Saturday, thousands marched on the headquarters of the European Central Bank. Police there detained several demonstrators from the “Blockupy” protest movement.
In Lisbon, demonstrators, also in their thousands, protested outside the local offices of the International Monetary Fund.
Several thousand demonstrators waving banners and red, yellow and blue Spanish republican flags marched peacefully along a central avenue in the capital heading for the local delegation of the European Commission.
“We are here fighting against the rulings of the troika, because we think they are governing only for the good of big capitalists, against the will of the majority of the people,” said one protestor, Rafael Herguezabal, a 75-year-old retired bank employee..