Matters of the economy are forefront in many minds, with economic issues dominating the recent American election and the leadership change in China. But in several countries in Europe, economic debate is played out on the streets with protests, petrol bombs, and strikes. As the Eurozone struggles with the global financial crisis, many member countries have turned to a series of spending cuts to health, education, and other services and social programs. Widespread protests against these so-called austerity measures have erupted in several countries. Gathered here are photographs from the most heavily impacted nations in recent months, including Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Italy.
A riot police officer is engulfed by petrol bomb flames in front of parliament during clashes in Athens on November 7, 2012.
A range of protesters from communists to academics mount a 'No Monti Day' demonstration against government austerity policies in downtown Rome on October 27, 2012.
Police clash with protestors during a demonstration at parliament against austerity measures announced by the Spanish government in Madrid on September 26, 2012.
A protestor lies on the ground unconscious after a clash with the police against austerity measures in Madrid on September 25, 2012.
Protestors react to tear gas in Athens during a demonstration against the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012. Merkel is an austerity hate figure in Greece whose arrival was greeted by union and opposition party protests
A demonstrator pauses during clashes with riot police in Athens against the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012.
A woman bangs a pot and shouts slogans during the Global Noise demonstration in Puerta del Sol Square on October 13, 2012 in Madrid.
People wave flags as they take part in a demonstration against the Portuguese government's austerity policies at the Terreiro do Paco Square in Lisbon on September 29, 2012.
A woman shouts slogans during a protest in front of the prime minister's cabinet against new austerity measures in Lisbon on October 4, 2012.
A protesting officer from Greece's police stands in a mock gallows outside the Finance Ministry during an anti-austerity protest in Athens on September 6, 2012. More than 4,000 officers, chanting "thieves, thieves’’ and carrying black flags took part in the march against expected new pay cuts in the crisis-hit country.
Media crews use apartment balconies to cover protests in Athens against the visit of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012.
A naked protestor runs during clashes in front of parliament in Athens on October 9, 2012.
A protestor gives flowers to police during a demonstration in front of Parliament against austerity measures announced by the Spanish government in Madrid, Spain, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012.
A protestor marches through the streets of Paris during a demonstration against austerity plans on September 30, 2012.
Pensioners Carmen Ruiz (center), 82, and her husband Francisco Arias, 83, along with their daughter Victoria attend a protest against further tax hikes and austerity cuts in Malaga, Spain on October 7, 2012.
A woman is helped up after being pushed by police during a march against austerity measures announced by the government in Madrid on September 25, 2012.
A riot policeman is engulfed in flames after a protester threw petrol bombs in Athens' Syntagma square during a 24-hour labor strike on September 26, 2012.
Protestors shout slogans in front of the Parliament during a demonstration against austerity measures in Madrid on September 29, 2012.
Portuguese military members hold up red cards to protest against the 2013 state budget draft in Lisbon on November 10, 2012.
People protest austerity measures in Columbus Square in Madrid on September 15, 2012.
Protesters surround police vans close to Spain's Parliament during a demostration in Madrid on September 25, 2012.
A demonstrator throws a trash bag at the official Prime Minister residency at Sao Bento Palace during a protest against the Portuguese government's 2013 state budget in Lisbon on October 15, 2012.
Street artists finish a piece by Shepard Fairey in London on October 9, 2012. British Prime Minister David Cameron said he would not soften his austerity program.
Riot police detain a protestor in Athens during a demonstration against the visit of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on October 9, 2012.
Members of the Portuguese National Republican Guard hold flags in front Parliament during a protest against austerity measures in Lisbon on October 24, 2012.
Port police officers light flares and shout slogans during an anti-austerity demonstration in Athens on November 1, 2012. Greece unveiled a tough new austerity budget, sparking a call for a 48-hour general strike.
A woman sweeps an empty train station in Athens on November 6, 2012 as thousands of Greek workers began a 48-hour strike to protest austerity cuts.
A protester joins a violent demonstration in Syntagma square in central Athens on November 7, 2012. Nearly 100,000 Greeks waving flags and chanting "Fight! They're drinking our blood" packed the square outside parliament as lawmakers neared a vote on unpopular budget cuts and labor reforms that the government was narrowly expected to win.
Fire fighters douse a burning bus ticket kiosk near Parliament during clashes in Athens on November 7, 2012.
Puppets of German chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti animate a 'No Monti Day' demonstration against austerity policies in downtown Rome on October 27, 2012.