Thousands gather in 56 Spanish cities to protest against punishing austerity measures

10/07/2012 10:37 EDT | Updated 12/07/2012 05:12 EST
MADRID - Thousands of people are marching in 56 Spanish cities to protest punishing austerity cuts they say will only increase unemployment and job insecurity in a country suffering from its second recession in three years and record high unemployment.

A large gathering called by 150 organizations is marching in Madrid behind a banner saying "they want to ruin the country. We have to stop them."

Protesters chanted slogans against cuts and waved placards reading "youth without jobs, society with no future." That is a reference to the higher than 50 per cent youth unemployment rate. Spain's overall jobless rate is nearly 25 per cent and social unrest is on the rise.

The government has implemented tough austerity measures over its nine months in office.