Sept. 15 - Tens of thousands demonstrate in Madrid against spending cuts and tax rises. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Tens of thousands of people converged on Madrid on Saturday to protest against spending cuts and tax rises that have squeezed Spaniards already struggling from high unemployment and a grueling recession. Teachers, nurses and social services workers flooded the streets of the capital city to demonstrate. The rally came a day after Spain said it would present new economic reforms at the end of September likely to contain more swinging austerity measures. The new reforms are seen as a precursor to an economic program which Spain will have to implement in return for receiving support from euro zone rescue funds and the European Central Bank to help lower its borrowing costs. The protest was organized by Spain's main unions -- two of which called for a referendum on budget cuts. Spain announced a package of spending cuts and tax hikes worth 56 billion euros in July, but many economists still expect the euro zone's fourth largest economy to miss its 2012 deficit target. Everyday living costs including heating, phone bills, clothes and haircuts all became more expensive at the start of the month after a hike in value-added tax. Police and city officials have a policy of not giving crowd counts for demonstrations. A Reuters witness estimated the crowds in tens of thousands.