Thousands of people joined marches in Santa Cruz, Tenerife and Las Palmas, Gran Canaria over the weekend in protest over the government’s austerity measures.
Union organisers said that around 9,000 people demonstrated in the two provincial capitals, mirroring massive demonstrations in major cities across Spain.
As well as austerity measures affecting the whole of Spain, protesters in the Canary Islands are also furious that the wording of new legislation, while maintaining the subsidised travel discount for island residents, has made them subject to budgetary restraints, leaving the door open for the government to reduce or remove it at some future date.
Experts say any such move on the part of central government would spell disaster for islanders, pointing out that the subsidy is used, not just for holidays but for many people whose work involves travel between the islands and also to the mainland.
Also hard hit, they say, would be those who have to travel to the mainland for specialist medical treatment, unavailable in the islands’ hospitals.