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Thursday, October 27, 2016

BRUSSELS — More than 25,000 people took part Friday in a European trade union demonstration in Brussels against austerity, while more than 20 people were injured in the protest that at times turned violent, a police spokeswoman told the German news agency dpa.

A “minority” of demonstrators were aggressive, throwing objects including stones and barriers, and “anything they could find,” said police commissioner Ilse Van de keere.

Eight protesters and three police officers were taken to hospital with injuries, while around 16 people received first-aid treatment for minor wounds, Van de keere added.

The demonstration passed the U.S. Embassy, where some protesters were seen hurling stones and firecrackers towards police. The embassy was placed under lockdown.

Police officers used water cannon in the area near the embassy — located close to the royal palace — and around the European Union institutions headquartered in Brussels, according to police and witness reports.

Belgian broadcaster RTBF described demonstrators marching among a “forest” of red flags. Several demonstrators were masked, according to witnesses.

The demonstration was organized by the European Trade Union Confederation to protest against austerity measures prescribed in response to Europe’s economic crisis.

“Austerity is not working. Austerity is causing a mounting social and economic crisis: over 26 million Europeans are jobless,” ETUC leader Bernadette Segol said ahead of the demonstration, demanding “a new path for Europe, based on investments, quality jobs and equality.”

Anger at EU austerity measures is expected to prompt a voter backlash in European elections on May 22-25, with large gains predicted for extremist and eurosceptic parties.

Photo: Dewfs via Flickr

  • Independent1

    I can’t think of a better article to highlight what the 25,000 protesters in Brussels were protesting about than Rep Alan Grayson’s article on how damaging austerity can be, and actually has been to a number of European countries and even to some extent to America.

    Here are some excerpts from Alan’s article on: How to destroy a country:

    So we cannot properly attribute the catastrophe in Greece to labor protection, nor can we attribute it to government borrowing. What is the cause, then? The World Health Organization has the answer: austerity. “Austerity” is a bloodless term for gross economic mismanagement, animated by heartlessness. That robotic cut-cut-cut mentality that deprives us of jobs, of public services, of safety, of health, of infrastructure, of help for the needy, and – ultimately — of our economic equilibrium and the ability to survive. The mentality that ushers in, and welcomes, a vicious war of all against all. Austerity is destroying an entire country, right before our eyes.

    Or, as the World Health Organization put it: “These adverse trends in Greece pose a warning to other countries undergoing significant fiscal austerity, including Spain, Ireland and Italy. It also suggests that ways need to be found for cash-strapped governments to consolidate finances without undermining much-needed investments in health.”

    In America, we have a rich and powerful lobby that has the same prescription for every economic malady: austerity. Cut-cut-cut. Cut Social Security and Medicare. Cut teacher and police and firefighter jobs. Cut health care. Cut pay and cut pensions. It all boils down to that one ugly word: austerity. And austerity always brings disarray, disaster, decay and death.

    Here’s the link to Alan’s entire article:

    • charleo1

      You’re right my friend. Austerity is the next logical whistle stop on
      a runaway train driven by greed, and hubris, and an unwillingness
      of governments to speak truth to power. And intercede to save a
      group of madmen from themselves, and their Countries economies from the policies that will surely run them all aground. What the madmen once demanded, and received, have wrecked the economies. Now, they are demanding the value of their ill gotten gains be protected from the consequences of those policies, they themselves demanded. What the people are rightly demanding, is that the leaders they elected, find the courage within themselves to do their duty, and tell the monied aristocracy the truth. That the tax relief they said would lead to increased investment, and that to jobs, and jobs to a shared prosperity, has failed. That in their successful quest for ever lower wages, in their relentless pursuit of ever higher profits, they have managed at long last to impoverished nearly all of their customers. And by that same failed formula of relentless pursuit of ever lower taxes in the pursuit of ever higher profits, they have managed to also impoverish the government as well. And yet, there is no sating the monster that has devoured all their business knowledge. All those lessons learned at the beginning, and their common sense as well. The sane course is to do those things necessary to fix their
      sick economies. Restore the ability of the workers to purchase
      their products. The ability of their governments to restore stability. Still they sit, clutching their gains. Demanding the debts be paid with someone else’s money! They’ve got money use theirs. Cut their bloated pensions! Cut their healthcare! Cut their education! I don’t need geniuses, I need cheap labor! If you insist on using my money, I’ll take it out of their hides myself!

      • Independent1

        Charle, what baffles me the most is that these corporate tycoons like the Koch Bros, can’t see that they’re cutting their own throats by draining the wealth from their own potential customers. Who do these idiots think is going to buy their products down the road when they’ve bankrupted virtually the entire middle class and the country? Can these guys really be that stupid?? Can’t they see that the only way for their companies (and that includes the Walton family), to prosper down the road is for the middleclass to remain strong!! t

        • JPHALL

          To these people “Greed id good!” and nothing else matters. The Repugnant / Tea Party has painted themselves and the US into this same corner as Europe and Japan. Their only answer for the future is more austerity for the people and more tax breaks for their bosses.

        • charleo1

          Well that’s me too, baffled. So, I’m no expert by any
          measure, on high finance, the global economy, and
          so on. But, it’s the business model from Hell. Because, wherever they’ve come come in, and set
          up shop, it isn’t long before they’ve sucked all the
          money out of everyone’s pockets, the governments
          are corrupted, and broke. The air’s too polluted to
          breathe, and everyone’s looking for a job. Then,
          they move on, leaving their mess for others to clean up, and sort out. Now, something tells me, that sooner or later, everyone is going to get wise to these multi-national shysters. As in hey! We’re bankers from America, and have we got a deal for you Europeans! Run their economies in the ground. Then, offer to loan them back their own money, on their terms of course.

  • Dominick Vila

    Looks like not everybody has been brainwashed. Europeans demonstrate against austerity, while much of our population praise the wisdom of the Tea Party call for austerity, in the face of economic progress. Time will tell…