Thousands protest privatization of healthcare in Spain
February 17, 2013

Thousands of demonstrators have marched through the streets of 16 Spanish cities Sunday to protest plans to part-privatise the public health care system, with some questioning the government’s motives.

It was the third “white tide” demonstration in Madrid, named after the colour of the medical scrubs many protesters wear.

But it was the first time cities other than the capital took part, including Barcelona, Cuenca, Murcia, Pamplona, Toledo and Zaragoza.

Protesters marched carrying banners saying "Public health is not to be sold, it’s to be defended".

Health care and education are administered by Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions.

Some indebted ones, like Madrid, have announced the part-privatisation of some services, with some people openly suspicious that the move is more a political-motivated ploy than an attempt to cut costs.

Civil servant Javier Tarabilla, 31, said Spain’s welfare state was being dismantled to be handed over to the private sector.

"This is pillaging of our public services, looting something we’ve all contributed to through taxes, to give it to private companies to run for profit," he said.

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