Belgian protesters clash at anti-austerity demo

2016-05-24 20:28

Brussels - Belgian riot police fired a water cannon at protesters on Tuesday after fighting broke out at the end of a major anti-austerity demonstration attended by tens of thousands of people in central Brussels. At least one policeman and several protesters were injured.

The demonstration was called to protest against the centre-right government's social and economic policies, which trade unions say cut deep into the foundations of Belgium's welfare state.

At the end of a peaceful rally that gathered about 50 000 people, a few dozen people started throwing rocks at police and scuffles broke out among protesters.

It was a repeat of previous anti-austerity protests when the violence of dozens overshadowed the march of tens of thousands.

Under the slogan "Our cup runs over" the main unions joined in the march, united in their opposition against moves to increase workers' flexibility at work, longer careers before pensions kick in and less pay under tougher conditions.

The trade unions say the centre-right free market policies of Liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel over the past two years are costing an average family about €100 a month, while the promise of many extra jobs remains elusive.

Instead the trade unions want the government to tackle tax evasion.

Read more on:    belgium

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