posted on Sep, 30 2010 @ 02:33 AM
Picketers ran after lighting fires to block a highway in Vigo, Spain, on Wednesday.
Tensions over Europe's austerity drive bubbled to the surface across the Continent as protesters hit the streets from Brussels to Madrid and a
visiting U.S. official urged Europeans to tread carefully on fiscal belt-tightening.
A general strike left much of Spain paralyzed as unions challenged the government's draconian budget cuts and labor-market overhaul. Demonstrations
disrupted other European capitals including Brussels, Lisbon, Athens and Dublin.
The protests, which are expected to continue in the coming weeks, mark a key test of the resolve of Europe's indebted governments to stick with
promises to bring their deficits under control by cutting public spending. Greece, Spain and Portugal all bowed to pressure from investors and their
European peers in recent months to trim spending, but the full force of the cuts is only now beginning to take hold.
Demonstrators loot a shop in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday. Spanish workers staged a general strike to protest austerity measures aimed at
slashing the country's budget deficit.