Anti-Austerity Riots Rock Madrid
Spanish police have baton-charged protesters attending a rally against austerity dubbed "Occupy Congress". The clashes occurred as protesters tried to tear down barriers blocking access to the parliament in Madrid, reports said. Metal barriers had been placed around the building to block access from every possible direction. Indignants, as the demonstrators are known, say they are protesting at the "kidnapping" of democracy. Spain's provinces have piled pressure on the government with a possible new bailout request and an early election. Andalucia is considering asking for a 4.9bn euro (£3.9bn; $6.3bn) emergency credit line from the central government, a spokeswoman for the regional administration confirmed to Reuters news agency. Three other regions - Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia - have already said they will seek emergency funds.Catalonia's government has called for an emergency vote on independence.
Catalonia Tuesday called snap elections over its drive for greater independence, deepening Spain's crisis as its government struggles to avoid a full-blown bailout. Catalonia's President Artur Mas demanded "self-determination" for the region, raising pressure on Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who has urged that the country stay united as it fights to secure its public finances. "The time has come to exercise the right to self-determination," Mas told the regional parliament, after Rajoy last week rejected his proposals for greater powers of taxing and spending. "We do not have to justify who we are. We want the same instruments that other nations have to preserve our common identity," he said. Mas called an early vote for November 25, a de facto referendum on his demands for greater independence for the big northeastern region, which is fiercely proud of its distinct language and culture. "The parliament that emerges will have a historic responsibility," he said.UPDATE: The rioting has gotten significantly worse since nightfall.