Demonstrators have clashed with police on the streets of Athens and Madrid in an upsurge of popular anger at new austerity measures being imposed on two of the euro zone’s most vulnerable economies.
In some of the most violent confrontations on Wednesday, Greek police fired tear gas at hooded rioters hurling petrol bombs as thousands joined the country’s biggest protest in more than a year.
The unrest erupted after nearly 70,000 people marched to the Greek parliament chanting “EU, IMF Out!” on the day of a general strike against further cuts demanded by foreign lenders.
“We can’t take it anymore – we are bleeding. We can’t raise our children like this,” said Dina Kokou, a 54-year-old teacher and mother of four who lives on 1,000 euros ($1,250) a month.
In Madrid, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy faced violence on the streets of the capital on Tuesday, and growing talk of secession in Catalonia as he moves cautiously closer to asking Europe for a bailout, aware that such an action has cost other European leaders their jobs.