Don't miss




Facebook data breach highlights our 'digital ignorance'

Read more


Putin's Russia: What next?

Read more


Health hoaxes in Africa, and a teacher's viral photo

Read more


'See Red': Aaron Cohen talks gun reform, hip-hop and gastronomy in Paris

Read more


The surprising growth of evangelical churches in France

Read more


Requiem for the Arab Spring: Why has Tunisia succeeded where others failed?

Read more


Europe in a digital world: EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel

Read more


'The New Silk Road': Arctic melt sparks territorial scramble

Read more


'Soviet-era enthusiasm' delivers Putin landslide

Read more


Belgians stage mass protest against austerity measures

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-12-02

Tens of thousands of Belgians marched on central Brussels Friday, protesting against austerity measures flagged by the incoming government. The measures could include cuts to unemployment benefits and limits on early retirement.

REUTERS - Tens of thousands of Belgians marched in protest in central Brussels on Friday against austerity measures an incoming government has said are vital to keep Belgium’s public finances under control.

Leaders of unions, which organised the demonstrations, said more than 50,000 people had gathered on a mild but damp morning in the Belgian capital. Police said it was too early to give an estimate on the numbers attending.

Belgians face cuts to unemployment benefit, limits on early retirement and spending reduced or frozen in the public sector.

“This is a demonstration by workers against austerity measures which are blind. We have been given a budget which is unfortunately not balanced,” said Bernard Noel, national secretary of the CGSLB union.

The demonstration included metal workers, public service employees, workers from the brewing industry, builders and teachers, most dressed in green, red or blue, the colours of the three main unions in Belgium.

“The austerity should be paid by those who created it, the banks, the financiers,” said Pierre Dellamaria, a 43-year-old laboratory technician.

The Brussels protests follow a wave of demonstrations across the Europe Union in recent months as cash-strapped workers feel the pinch from swingeing cuts imposed by governments grappling with the ongoing debt crisis which has rocked the trading bloc.

Six-party talks to form a new government concluded on Thursday, almost 18 months after a parliamentary election.

Belgium needs to save 11.3 billion euros ($15.2 billion) next year to bring its budget deficit below the EU limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.

The government is likely to be sworn in on Monday.

“Everything is too expensive. We have had a government from yesterday, but I’m not sure if this will really change anything,” said Laurence Willems, a 29-year-old Brussels teacher.


Date created : 2011-12-02


    Belgian parties agree to form new government

    Read more

  • Europe

    OECD warns of eurozone contagion risk

    Read more