PHOTOS: Street fires, violence in Spain protest

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, March 29 2012 5:51 p.m. MDT

Mirian Burrueco, 30, reacts behind the broken glass of her shop stormed by demonstrators during clashes with the police at the general strike in Barcelona, Thursday, March 29, 2012. Spanish workers livid over labor reforms they see as flagrantly pro-business staged a nationwide strike Thursday and tried to bring the country to a halt by blocking traffic, closing factories and clashing with police in rowdy demonstrations.

Emilio Morenatti, Associated Press

BARCELONA, Spain — Protesters smashed bank and storefront windows with hammers and rocks and set fire to a cafe Thursday as economic protests in Spain's second-largest city turned violent.

The riots in Barcelona broke out during a nationwide general strike that closed factories, slowed transportation systems and crippled hospitals. Tens of thousands of people marched in Madrid and other cities protesting an economic plan of spending cuts and tax hikes.

Demonstrators ran past burning trash bins on the street. Some kicked in store windows and hurled stones at riot police.

Authorities arrested 176 protesters across Spain and said 104 people were injured in clashes, including 58 police officers. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

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