Spanish protesters have once again staged a demonstration against austerity measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

The Sunday protest was held downtown Barcelona, where demonstrators chanted slogans and waved banners, criticizing the government for imposing harsh austerity policies. The protesters said further cuts would make life ever more difficult for ordinary people in Spain. The Spanish government, however, says the cuts are necessary for the country to reach its deficit - reduction targets. Spain’s unemployment rate has hit a record high of over 27 percent, meaning more than six million jobless Spaniards, according to official data released on April 25. Spain is in the grip of a double dip recession, which has driven its unemployment rate to 55 percent among those aged 16 to 24. Rajoy said on April 24 that the job situation for the whole year “will not be good, but it will be less bad than in the preceding years. ” Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, taking millions of jobs with it. Spain must lower its deficit to 4.5 percent in 2013 and 2.8 percent in 2014. Many economists, however, say those targets will be difficult to meet amid poor prospects for the country’s economic recovery. The Spanish government has also been sharply criticized over its austerity measures that are hitting the middle and working classes the hardest.