Some 300 wives and partners of Spain’s striking coal miners held a loud protest at the entrance to the Senate, which was voting Tuesday evening on the section of the general state budget which contains a 60% reduction of coal subsidies.
Arriving in the capital in seven buses from Aragon, Castilla and Leon and Asturias, around 50 of the women then entered the Upper House as guests to attend the plenary vote on the public accounts and in which some PP senators of the ruling Popular Party broke the whip and voted against the Ministry of Industry’s budget.
Meanwhile in the streets outside the women chanted slogans like “We are miners, we are not terrorists,” “Here we are, we are the coal women” or “Miners’ women have balls.”
They waved placards demanding funding for the mines, or the phrase “Canary in the Coal Mine,” illustrated with a photo of Minister of Industry, José Manuel Soria.
Some tried to access the door of the Senate, but were intercepted by police, after which they staged a sat-in one of the nearby roads.
Others sung Santa Barbara, patron saint of miners.
The protest made quite a stir and was spontaneously supported by passing members of the public.
The miners wives were welcomed at the entrance to the Senate by some elected representatives, such as the Socialists’ general secretary for the affected Castilla and León region Julio Villarrubia and communist-led United Left leader Cayo Lara.
More than 8,000 miners have been on an indefinite strike since the start of June over cuts to coal subsidies demanded by the EU and set to be implemented by the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy that is implementing swinging cuts to spending. 40,000 jobs in mining and related occupations are under threat.