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Spain: Arrests At Anti-labor Market Reform Protest

HAROLD HECKLE

MADRID (AP) â¿¿ Nine people were arrested Saturday after scuffles broke out between police and protesters after the government approved sweeping labor market reforms aimed at reviving Spain's ailing economy.

A Madrid city police spokesman said eight officers and one protester were also slightly injured during the clashes at an impromptu demonstration in the capital's downtown Puerta del Sol plaza.

The spokesman â¿¿ who spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with force rules â¿¿ said those arrested â¿¿ all men, aged 22 to 41 years old â¿¿ would appear before a judge Sunday.

Spanish unemployment stands at nearly 23 percent, the eurozone's highest rate, and the government said its reforms, announced Friday, are designed to stimulate the job market.

Spain's principal trade unions â¿¿ General Workers and Workers' Commissions â¿¿ said at a joint press conference Saturday that in coming days, weeks and months they would unleash "a process of increasing mobilization" to protest the government's measures.

The reforms "are brutal, they cheapen, facilitate and deregulate firing workers as the government's only solution to unemployment," said Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, spokesman for Workers' Commissions.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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