Thousands of protesters rallied in the streets across Spain Thursday night calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy over "allegations he received payoffs from a slush fund before his party won elections in 2011."
The protests turned violent as baton-wielding police injured several protesters.
The allegations of greed and corruption against the leader of the Popular Party (PP) come as the country suffers from soaring unemployment and biting austerity.
The Telegraph reports that former political party treasurer
Luis Barcenas, who is currently in jail pending trial on unrelated fraud and corruption charges, claims the Prime Minister was among party leaders who received envelopes full of cash while he was in the previous conservative government and in the run up to elections in 2011.
Barcenas also alleges that the corruption was going on for two decades.
And last week, text messages by Rajoy were revealed in which he showed support for Barcenas.
Reuters adds that:
Rajoy is grappling with a recession and sky-high unemployment, rising separatist fervor in the Catalonia region and street protests over cuts in school and hospital spending.
Now the government has been rocked by the testimony of former PP treasurer Luis Barcenas who told a judge he collected millions of euros in cash donations from construction magnates and distributed the funds to party leaders including Rajoy.
In what little he has said about the affair, Rajoy has played on fears of uncertainty during the crises that have taken Spain close at times to needing a full international bailout.
Flickr user Fotomovimiento has more photos from demonstrations against Rajoy in Barcelona: