Undercover police stand on a Barcelona street during Thursday's demonstration against austerity cuts. On the same day, the European Central Bank's governing council met there but offered no relief to painful austerity measures.
After months of punishing austerity measures, some Spaniards want a break and maybe even some stimulus from Europe. But that didn't happen at Thursday's meeting of the governing board of the European Central Bank.
The location of the ECB summit in Barcelona was kept secret, which may indicate how well officials thought they'd be received in the Spanish port city. Thousands of demonstrators flooded the city's streets, as did police, some in plainclothes and masks, with helicopters overhead.
One in four Spaniards is jobless, and the rate is more than 50 percent for youth.
Bolivia and Argentina's nationalization of Spanish companies hasn't gone over well in Madrid. Spanish officials say Bolivia and Argentina will pay the price in the long run, as investors become weary of doing business if their assets could ultimately get seized.
The news keeps getting worse for Spain. This week came word that the country has fallen back into recession. Meanwhile, Spain's unemployment rate is the highest in Europe. Investors are once again fleeing the country and interest rates on government debt are climbing.
The numbers coming out of Spain these days are stark. The economy contracted at a 0.3 percent rate during the first part of this year. Housing prices are down 21 percent from their peak, and unemployment is nearly 25 percent.
A priest prays before a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI at the Cuatro Vientos air base outside Madrid during World Youth Day festivities in August 2011. The Catholic Church is hoping to provide an attractive option for young job seekers in Spain, which is suffering from unprecedented unemployment.
Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 8:24 pm
Residents of Cañada Real stand near recently demolished shacks on March 5. The settlement is separated into different sections and tends to be segregated by ethnic groups: Roma in one section, Arabs in another, for example.
Europe's largest illegal settlement lies on the edge of Madrid. As the Spanish capital has grown, the city's limits have moved ever closer to the shantytown known as Cañada Real, a sprawling tangle of tents and cement houses. And as the economy has tanked, a growing number of people are calling it home.
Now the city is eyeing the property for possible development.
The roads in Cañada Real are unpaved. Houses are made of corrugated metal or cement. Some lots are just piles of garbage.