Subsidies for Spanish coal mines yanked; workers protest

Protests in northern Spain are turning violent with riot police using batons and tear gas to squelch striking coal miners who are worried their way of life may be on the way out.

The Spanish government is planning to reduce subsidies for the industry from $375 million to $137 million, a reduction that some fear will end the industry once and for all. There are about 8,000 mine workers at 40 coal mines in Spain. Protesters are setting up blockades on roads and railways. They are also skirmishing with police.

The Spanish government is trying to reign in spending in a midst of a recession to build confidence in the country's finance and help it stay in the euro zone.

Spain is currently facing 25% unemployment. It is also the 12th largest economy in the world.

Image of protests from Canal de 15maio2011