Protesters, Police Clash in Madrid

MADRID, Spain (CNN) - Thousands of protesters fed up with the country's austerity measures demonstrated here Tuesday outside the congressional building.

Clashes between police and demonstrators in central Madrid's Neptuno Square resulted in nine people being hurt, one of them a policeman, a police spokeswoman said. Four of the injured were taken to a hospital; the others were treated at the scene, she said.

A Madrid government spokesman said 15 people among the estimated crowd of 6,000 had been arrested.

Demonstrators said police were shooting into the crowd with rubber bullets; the police would not comment.

"We have you surrounded," some demonstrators sang. "We have no fear."

At one point, Spanish police charged demonstrators with batons to prevent them to approaching the parliament, which was in session.

Spain is facing an economic crisis with unemployment near 25%, and the protesters accused the government and the opposition alike of trying to solve the country's financial woes on the backs of the people.

Video from the scene showed police charging groups of protesters with their clubs, but such clashes were isolated.

Protesters' demands include a reduction in the size of the government, state-run broadcaster TVE reported.

Some protesters threw bottles and rocks at the police officers, who fought back, TVE reported.


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