Spanish protesters on Saturday planned the latest in a series of angry demonstrations against the government's economic crisis cuts, as fears rose for the country's financial stability.
Saturday's protests come a day after Spain's economic and financial outlook darkened, with the government warning the recession will drag on through 2013, and the interest rates on Spanish sovereign bonds rising to danger levels.
After hundreds of thousands crammed the streets of Spanish cities on Thursday, fresh demonstrations were planned by a group of people unemployed in the crisis, who were set to converge on Madrid from around Spain on Saturday.
An almost-daily string of protests erupted after Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on July 11 announced 65 billion euros ($80 billion) in measures including cuts to pay and unemployment benefits, on top of earlier huge cutbacks.
Firemen, police officers, nurses, teachers and other workers have massed in the streets outside government ministries yelling: "Hands up, this is a robbery!"
Protesters say the efforts to cut Spain's deficit are unfairly targeting the poor and will depress the recession-hit economy further.
On Friday the government cut its economic growth forecast for 2013 from 0.2 percent growth to a contraction of 0.5 percent. Unemployment is at more than 24 percent.
The government says it has no choice but to pass its harsh economic measures given the high public deficit.
On Friday one of Spain's indebted regional authorities, Valencia, reached out for emergency aid, applying to borrow from a fund of 18 billion euros set up by the central government for struggling regions.
In response, the Madrid stock exchange plunged by more than five percent, dragged down by banking shares which found no support in a eurozone rescue deal for the financial sector finalised by finance ministers Friday.
The return on Spanish 10-year bonds -- a benchmark measure of market confidence in the country's financial strength -- jumped well above the 7.0 percent danger level on Friday.
Another key measure, the difference between the yields on Spanish and safehaven German bonds, also moved dangerously high, topping 600 points (six percentage points).
The indicators revived warnings that the banking bailout may not be enough to stabilise Spain's finances, a key concern for the future of the eurozone.
The soaring of the risk premium "pushes Spain close to a total bailout", headlined the right-leaning newspaper El Mundo on Saturday.
"Spain enters an extreme situation", warned left-leaning El Pais.
In Saturday's protests, demonstrators were due to arrive on foot in Madrid after walking hundreds of miles (kilometres) from several regions around Spain.
The various groups planned to gather for a picnic near Madrid's Prado Museum in the early afternoon and march together at 1630 GMT to the central Puerta del Sol square, the symbolic hub of social protests.
It was not clear how many people were likely to take part.
Thursday's demonstration was mostly peaceful but after it ended police fired rubber bullets and baton-charged small groups of protesters to disperse them from streets around the Puerta del Sol.