Disabled people took to the streets of Madrid on Sunday in the latest protest against broad austerity measures, angry over government cutbacks reducing services, closing disability centers and forcing care workers from their jobs.
More than 10,000 people, many in wheelchairs or being led by guide dogs, marched in a demonstration with the slogan “SOS Disability: Save our Rights, Inclusion and Welfare.”
Health-care spending falls under the responsibility of regional governments, many of which are indebted. Some local administrations have failed to pay medical centers, forcing cuts in services and a slowdown in the distribution of medicine.
Luis Cayo, president of the Spanish committee representing the interests of people with disabilities, said regional governments were in arrears of around $389.6 million to care workers and associations responsible for looking after the needs of disabled people across the country.
“To some, this sum on a national scale may not be huge, but for us, it’s everything. Without it, we’ll simply have to shut down,” said Cayo, who said 1 in 10 people in Spain had some form of disability.