Judges' protest paralyzes Spanish judiciary
A work stoppage by judges and judicial secretaries Tuesday paralyzed a large part of Spain's court system, reported dpa.
The judiciary was protesting what it saw as government interference in its work and a lack of resources.
Judicial secretaries stopped working for three hours and judges, who were not allowed to stage a formal work stoppage, held meetings during that time.
The protesters were accusing Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's Socialist government of interference in urging the highest judges' organ to adopt stronger sanctions against a Seville judge for failing to jail a paedophile who then killed a five-year-old girl in January.
The General Council of Judicial Power (CGPJ) had handed a fine of 1,500 euros (2,000 dollars) to judge Rafael Tirado in the so-called case Mari Luz, the girl whose murder shocked Spain.
The Justice Ministry also barred a court employee from office for two years, alleging that she had failed to inform Tirado of the paedophile's situation.
The protesters accused the government of using the Seville court as a "scapegoat" to hide the problems of the judiciary, where a lack of resources is contributing to constant bottlenecks and delays at courts.
Socialist spokesman Jose Antonio Alonso said the protest was unjustified, because the government had only expressed an "opinion" without interfering with the judiciary. He also said the government was increasing judicial resources.
Spain has only one judge per 10,000 residents, according to a figure quoted by the daily El Mundo.