Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

ENCORE!

Encore’s Year in Music

Read more

FOCUS

Hebron, a city where peace seems impossible

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users criticize Sony for pulling "The Interview"

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Qatar Airways CEO: Traditional airlines 'inefficient'

Read more

BEYOND BUSINESS

Gastrodiplomacy: is French food losing its flair?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Viva La Evolucion! US and Cuba Move to Normalise Ties

Read more

LIFESTYLES

Creative Christmas confections

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users react to Cuba and the US normalizing relations

Read more

WEB NEWS

Connected toys are a must-have for Christmas

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)