Palma.—The anti-austerity general strike which involved thousands of people from a wide cross section of the Balearic community, got off to a peaceful start at midnight on Tuesday with pickets letting those on minimum service duty go about their work, but tension spilled over midmorning when a group of 300 anti-capitalists tried to block the Avenidas and clashing with riot police broke out.

Two demonstrators were arrested, one the leader of an extreme left wing party, while five National Police officers were injured.
Riot police were stationed all across the city centre, protecting travellers using the limited public transport and the shops which decided to open and there were a number of tense moments and verbal altercations between the police and protesters.

Small businesses
According to the Association of Small Businesses (PIMECO) for the first time ever, a number of small business decided to back the strike in protest against the government's austerity plans.

However, other commercial bodies said that the number of shops which closed for the day were minimal and that for the vast majority, it was business as usual, except when the protest marches came past. Then it was a case of closing up until they had passed.

As far as main unions in the Balearic Islands, including the General Workers Union (UGT) and the Workers Commission (CCOO), were concerned there had been a 71% support for the strike, while the regional government said that backing had been just 12.65%.

In more detail, the unions said the strike in the Public Health sector had had 72% support from the work force whilst the government had said it hardly reached 7.16%. On Majorca the figure was put at 5.27%; on Minorca 11.54%; on Ibiza 11.91% and zero on Formentera.

There were also large differences in assessment in the Education sector, with the unions saying that 71% of teachers in the non-university sector backed the strike and government reporting backing of an average of just 14.67%, 20.15% in publicly run schools and 6.54% in those education centres which were state assisted.

According to the regional government, Majorca had had 11.74% of the public work force supporting the General Strike in the Education sector; on Minorca 31.64%, on Ibiza 23.14% and on Formentera 21.43%. Meanwhile at the Balearic University, 15.31% of personnel had turned up for the strike.

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