Spanish miners block highway, railway

BEMBIBRE, Spain — About 150 miners and their supporters temporarily blocked a highway and railroad in northern Spain Friday with burning tires and other objects to protest against unpaid wages.

The protesters placed rocks and set fires to several car tires sending black smoke billowing into the sky on a stretch of the railway near the town of Bembibre, an AFP photographer on the scene said.

The protest caused delays for three regional trains transporting over 200 passengers, railroad officials said.

The miners also blocked traffic on a nearby highway by sitting on the road and overturning heavy metal carts used to move coal in the mines before police arrived and they dispersed.

Miners in several parts of Spain are protesting over unpaid wages and to demand government aid to the coal industry.

Fifty miners have since September 2 refused to leave a coal mine 500 metres (1,650 feet) underground near Guardo in the northern Palencia province until they receive the salaries they are owed for August from mining company Union Minera del Norte (Uminsa).

They are also calling for a guaranteed level of coal purchases so as to ensure that Spanish coal-fired power stations buy domestic coal rather than imports.

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