Spanish police, protesters clash over pension reform: press

Eight policemen were slightly injured in Madrid late Thursday in clashes with demonstrators protesting a Spanish government plan to raise the legal retirement age, Spanish media said.

Several people were also arrested after the clashes, which began after protesters set fire to three rubbish containers in the central Puerta del Sol area of the city, the centre-right newspaper El Mundo said on its website,

It said some 2,000 people took part in the protest over the Socialist government’s pensions reform plan which envisages raising the retirement age from 65 to 67 so as to cut expenses and stop long-term government finances seeping deeper into the red.

Eight policemen were slightly injured in clashes, one of whom was taken to hospital, the paper said, quoting police sources.

Thousands also marched peacefully through the northeastern city of Barcelona to protest the plan.

The government said earlier Thursday it had reached a deal with unions over the pensions reforms, which are to be put to the weekly cabinet meeting on Friday.

The country’s two main unions, the UGT and the CCOO, have previously voiced fierce opposition to raising the retirement age, threatening a new general strike if the government went ahead without union agreement.

The unions staged a general strike in September 2010 over the government’s labour-market reforms.

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