In Madrid, thousands of angry protesters again swarmed as close as they could get Wednesday night to the parliament building, watched by a heavy contingent of riot police. There was no fresh violence, but the demonstrators cut off traffic on one of the city's major thoroughfares at the height of the evening commute.
The protesters chanted for the release of 34 people detained Tuesday night in clashes that injured 64 others. They also demanded new elections to oust Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and his conservative government, which has imposed cutbacks and tax hikes, deepening the gloom in a country struggling with recession and unemployment of nearly 25 percent, the highest among the 17 nations using the common euro currency.
Spain's central bank warned Wednesday that the economy is still shrinking "significantly," sending the Spanish stock index tumbling and its borrowing costs rising.
The turmoil Wednesday ended weeks of relative calm and optimism among investors that Europe and the eurozone might have turned a corner. Markets have been breathing easier since the European Central Bank said earlier this month that it would buy unlimited amounts of government bonds to help countries with their debts.
The move by the ECB helped lower borrowing costs for indebted governments from levels that only two months ago threatened to bankrupt Spain and Italy.
However, the economic reality in Europe remained dire. Several countries have had to impose harsh new spending cuts, tax increases and economic reforms to meet European deficit targets and, in Greece's case, to continue getting vital aid. The austerity has hit citizens with wage cuts and fewer services, and left their economies struggling through recessions.