2,000 protest outside Catalan parliament

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Some 2,000 protesters gathered outside a Barcelona park Tuesday, with municipal authorities intent on preventing them from scaling the fence and invading the Catalan regional parliament inside.

The demonstrators hope to prevent the parliament from voting in austerity measures on Wednesday and said earlier they planned to sleep in the park.

However the authorities emptied the park and locked its gates.

Late Tuesday numerous police offices were patrolling the park.

The regional deputies will on Wednesday begin two days of debate on the 2011 budget for Spain's north-eastern Catalan region, which foresees a 10 percent cut in public spending.

Protesters have maintained a camp in a square in central Barcelona for the past month to voice their opposition to the austerity plans, despite threats of imprisonment.

Similar protests have been seen in the Spanish capital Madrid and elsewhere.

© 2011 AFP

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