Fifty Spanish coal miners 1,640 feet (500 meters) underground are staging the ninth day of a strike over unpaid wages and government aid.
Their ordeal is unfolding at a mine in northern Palencia province. That is one of the few areas in Spain that still mine coal in an industry that is struggling to compete with gas-fired electrical utilities and renewable energies.
The miners deny they are using a mining drama in Chile in which 33 men have been trapped underground for a month as a way to call attention to their cause.
The Spaniards have not been paid for two months. But they say their real gripe is the government's failure to subsidize utilities so they will use Spanish rather than imported coal, which tends to be cheaper.