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Striking miners in north Spain use violent tactics

SHARE Striking miners in north Spain use violent tactics

ALLER, Spain — Trade union officials say striking coal workers fearful of losing their jobs in recession-hit Spain are using homemade rocket launchers to stop police from breaking up their protests.

Protesters have blocked roads and highways with burning tires to highlight calls for negotiations on job cuts, while others have remained underground for 23 days.

Mining has been an integral part of the economy of the northern provinces of Asturias and Leon since Roman times. Many miners are worried that government cuts including a reduction in mining subsidies from €300 million to €110 million ($375 million-$137 million) will mean the end of their industry.

Spain is applying across-the-board cutbacks as part of an economy overhaul aimed at slashing its swollen deficit and reducing the country's near 25 percent unemployment rate.