MADRID, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Spain had a record number of demonstrations in 2012 and, with the economic outlook poor, will probably have even more this year, a member of Parliament said.
Richard Sixto compiled figures showing more than 36,000 public protest marches were held in the first 10 months of 2012, the first year of the administration of President Mariano Rajoy, thinkSpain reported Monday.
That's nearly twice as many as in all of 2011, which experienced 18,422, said Sixto, a member of the left-wing party Izquierda Plural.
The demonstrations were the "direct result" of tax increases and cutbacks in social funding as well as the "repeated failure of the government to keep its electoral promises," Sixto said.
He predicted there would be even more protest marches in 2013.
Sixto criticized certain fines issued to organizers of protest marches and called them a "deliberate strategy" to instill fear in citizens and reduce their freedom of speech.
Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said the government "knew there were turbulent times ahead" shortly after coming into power and had worked to balance civil rights with security.
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