Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ACROSS AFRICA

New HIV vaccine under trial in South Africa

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Vote count under way in Ghana after tight presidential poll

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Cameroon: Several people killed in clashes with police in Anglophone region

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Polish Christmas video goes viral

Read more

THE DEBATE

Power to the People? Battle over Brexit and Parliamentary Democracy (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Power to the People? Battle over Brexit and Parliamentary Democracy (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Iraq's 'Golden Division' troops in the battle for Mosul

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Italy faces shortage of young farmers

Read more

ENCORE!

The Rolling Stones pay homage to the blues with new covers album

Read more

Europe

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

  • BELGIUM

    Belgian parties agree to form new government

    Read more

  • Europe

    OECD warns of eurozone contagion risk

    Read more

COMMENT(S)