It has taken nearly three weeks with some covering up to 400 kilometres, but scores of Spanish miners finally arrived in Madrid on Tuesday night at the end of their long march.
Huge cuts in subsidies to coal mining companies provoking enforced lay-offs, plus further cuts in funding to miners seeking to retrain, have stirred the men to protest. They were joined by thousands of sympathisers.
One miner who thought the whole march had been an unforgettable experience said:
“The crowd here is impressive. Some may say that Madrid is right-wing but it is not. It is a true workers’ city. We are so surprised. We had the same warm welcome in all the others villages along the march.”
The miners’ plight has brought out an emotional response from other workers. They have also been hit by high taxes, a squeeze on education and new regulations making it cheaper to fire them.
With a marked sense of solidarity, a mass protest will be held in Madrid later today.