Spanish workers staged a second general strike this year asunions across Europe prepared the biggest coordinated protests yetagainst budget cuts that policy makers say are needed to end theregion's debt crisis.

In Spain, unions said most auto and metal workers joined thestrike, even as demand for electricity was just 12 percent belowusual. One of Portugal's two biggest labor groups also called astrike. Partial walkouts are planned in Greece and Italy, andFrench unions are urging workers to join protest marches.

Opposition to Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's cuts inhealth, education and welfare benefits is growing while thosemeasures are failing to rein in the budget deficit or bring downborrowing costs. Demands for less austerity are gaining traction asthe International Monetary Fund recommends nations including Spainslow the pace of budget cuts.

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