The miners’ so-called “black march” reached the outskirts of Madrid on Monday after a march of some 430 kilometres in searing heat. The northern column, which set out from Asturias, Palencia and León over two weeks ago, reached the suburb of Aravaca on Monday afternoon, where hundreds of residents turned out to cheer them. They were greeted by applause and cheers of support from residents. The Aragon column, which started out from Zaragoza and Teruel, reached the satellite town of Alcobendas north of Madrid on Monday, where labour union representatives joined the miners for a rally in the main square.
Both columns were scheduled to join up in the centre of Madrid just after midnight on Tuesday, dressed in full mining gear, with their helmet lights and lamps ablaze. On Wednesday they will march to the Industry Ministry to protest against proposed cuts to mining subsidies of 63 per cent, which would effectively kill the sector in Spain. Organisers hope some 25,000 people will turn out. The central government delegate in Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, said that a “sufficient and adequate” police presence will be in place to ensure the safety of citizens during the protest, stressing that the march had been entirely peaceful so far.