Several thousand people demonstrated Sunday in downtown Madrid in support of public healthcare, education and scientific research and against budgetary cutbacks and privatization of these services.

Some 6,000 people, according to police estimates, and about 20,000, according to organizers, marched through central Madrid behind a huge sign that read "Without education there is no science, without science there is no healthcare."

This was the 14th march staged by the "white tide" of Madrid public healthcare workers, who demonstrate every third Sunday of the month against the cutbacks and in defense of the public, but the protesters were joined for the first time by the "green tide" of education workers and the "red tide" of workers from the science sector.

The demonstration concluded without any noteworthy incidents, in contrast to the protest Saturday night near the lower house of Parliament in Madrid, where police arrested seven people and 23 people were slightly injured - 14 of them police officers - in confrontations between demonstrators and security forces.

Several thousand people participated in the Saturday evening protest against the proposed government security bill that includes fines of up to $40,000 for "very serious" infractions such as acts considered to be offensive to Spain or its institutions or displaying the photographs of terrorists.

Most of those arrested on Saturday night were released after giving a statement to police but they will have to appear before a judge when summoned to do so. EFE