[ View the story "Miners strike not a minor struggle" on Storify] Miners strike not a minor struggle Spanish workers protest harsh cuts to mining industry.
Storified by The Stream · Wed, Jun 20 2012 18:58:31
In a recent escalation of violence, officials fired rubber bullets and tear gas while miners have begun using slingshots and homemade rockets, as seen in this photo from Ana Ortiz Garcia.
On June 7 miners and law enforcement officials clashed in Leon.
Los mineros hacen retroceder a la Guardia Civil a pedradas Ciñera, León #ResistenciaMineraantenapez
In Asturias, another important mining area in northwest Spain, miners barricaded motorways by burning tires as law enforcement shot rubber bullets at the strikers and arrested two people.
Batalla campal mineros vs Guardia Civil en los montes de Asturias 2 detenidos #ResistenciaMineraantenapez
Violence has ebbed and flowed since the strikes began in late May. These photos from June 12 show miners protesting peacefully in the streets of León.
This video from the same night shows miners chanting and protesting peacefully.
HUELGA MINERIA 2012muzzly
Union leaders called for a large-scale, organized strike on June 18 which had high turnouts:
12k people marching in Leon, #Spain against cuts to mining sector. Unions report full adherence to mining general strike. #resistenciamineraDavid Ferreira
Miners' wives also joined the protests by demonstrating in front of the Senate building.
Aitana tweets, "Today at 18:00 miners' wives stood in front of the Senate. They ask for solidarity and support. Pass it on! #ResistenciaMinera".
Hoy a las 18:00 las mujeres de mineros estarán frente al Senado Madrid, Metro Ópera. Piden solidaridad y apoyo ¡PÁSALO! #ResistenciaMineraAitana Castaño Díaz
In this video, miners track down and confront the mayor of Ponferrada, a city in the León province, demanding a reversal of the subsidy cuts.
El alcalde de Ponferrada es agredido por los mineros #ResistenciaMineraantenapez
This cartoon by
argues that Spanish law enforcement officials will crack down on protesters more readily if protests are passive and peaceful, referring to those staged by students and the "indignants" over the past year. The cartoon on the right shows law enforcement officials running away to avoid conflict as miners react more aggressively.
Some noted the aggressive tactics used by the miners and their effectiveness in keeping enforcement officials at bay:
More burning blockades today, police keep their distance after #Ciñera yesterday. Images and video soon @Report_Digital #resistenciamineraJason N. Parkinson
Like several other eurozone countries, Spain is implementing austerity measures due to its burgeoning budget deficit, currently at
6.4 per cent of its gross domestic product
. The government has felt pressure to reduce its deficit after missing its target of a 5.3 per cent GDP deficit for fiscal year 2012.
Spain topped a "Misery Index" in 2010 which measured countries with the highest combined fiscal deficit and unemployment rate. Spain has had to deal with rapidly increasing joblessness, with some estimates as high as 25 per cent.
labeled the strikes as a class struggle. His tweet roughly translates, "To those who tremble before the #ResistenciaMinera (miner's resistance), this is a class struggle, sorry".
A los "equidistantes" y a los que les tiemblan las piernas ante la #ResistenciaMinera: Esto es lucha de clases, disculpen las molestias.Paco Arnau
This banner from a strike says, "We miners want to work. We are not bankers. We do not want to rob".
predicts the miners strike will continue to build momentum as the government moves forward with subsidy cuts.
upper house in Spain is supposed to finalize large cuts to mining sector today. will only increase resistance not end it. #resistenciamineraDavid Ferreira