Teachers and students in Spain staged a massive strike on Tuesday to protest government budget cuts that could put 100,000 substitute teachers out of work.
Spain is reeling from a huge economic crisis and the government is hoping that an austerity package will void the need for an international bailout. Government cuts in education spending total €3 billion ($3.8 billion) and is expected to reduce the number of teachers while increasing their hours and the size of classes by 20 percent.
This strike is necessary because we have to tell everyone what it means to cut spending in a country where education is not as good as in other countries, long-time school teacher Begonia Sanchez, told Reuters.
Unemployment in Spain is already at the Europe-leading level of 24 percent, while unemployment among youth exceeds 50 percent. According to the BBC, the education cuts will also increase college tuition by 25 percent
The strike was the biggest so far this year and was also the first to cross all grade levels, from kindergarten to university. There were discrepancies about the size of the protests, with labor unions saying that 80 percent of Spain's teachers took part while the Education Ministry put the figure at 19 percent.
Quality public education is in danger of dying. They are sacrificing our youths' learning because of the crisis, Voro Benavent, spokesman for the Teaching Workers Union, told Reuters.
Tuesday's rallies remained peaceful, although two people were arrested in Madrid for blocking traffic and five people were detained in Barcelona for trying to seal school doors shut with silicone, according to Europe Online.