Massive anti-austerity strikes and protests swept across Europe as millions took to the streets to express their frustration over rising unemployment and dire economic prospects. Many rallies ended with violent clashes with police.
Workers marched in 23 countries across Europe to mark the European Day of Action and Solidarity.
General strikes had been called in Spain and Portugal, paralyzing public services and international flights, in Belgium and France transport links were partially disrupted by strikes and demonstrations, in Italy and Greece thousands of workers and students marched through the streets.
Other EU countries, such as Germany, Austria and Poland, saw well attended union-led rallies.
The Europe-wide strike action, the largest in a series of protests against the austerity policies, was coordinated by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and promoted on Twitter under the “#14N” hashtag.
Spain, which has the highest unemployment rate in the industrialized world, pioneered the action, with protests and clashes starting overnight and dozens of arrests reported by morning. According to the unions, some 9 million workers took to the streets across the nation.
Police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Madrid and Barcelona. More than 142 people were arrested and at least 74 injured, including 43 policemen, Spanish police said.
Slogans like “Rajoy Go Home” were chanted by Spaniards outraged over Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s public spending cuts that have led to a 26% unemployment rate in the country.
Leaflets saying “They leave us without future. They are the guilty ones. There are other solutions” could be seen all around Madrid.
Strikes and violent protests gripped Italy, as tens of thousands protesters took to the streets all over the country rallying against Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity measures.
Rome became the center of the chaos, as rioting workers and students brought the streets to a standstill when they confronted the police, throwing rocks, bottles and firecrackers at them.
To scatter the protesters police fired teargas and more than 50 people were arrested. At least 17 police officers were injured,
Portugal entered the general strike with anti-austerity rallies in 40 towns and cities throughout the country.
Lisbon froze as people poured into the streets: the subway was shut down, railway strikes left commuters stranded and half of the flights were cancelled.
Thousands of people frustrated by a record 15.8 per cent unemployment rate, gathered in front of the Portuguese parliament building, shouting “The troika does not rule here!”
The clashes broke out as police tried to clear the streets of Lisbon in the evening with protesters throwing stones and rubbish in response.
At least five injuries have been reported by Portuguese police, with one protester taken to hospital. After more than an hour of standoff, the Lisbon demonstrators were dispersed.
After last week’s vigorous 48-hour anti-austerity strike, Greeks gathered in a relatively quiet 5000-strong protest in Athens and called for a three-hour work stoppage in solidarity with the Spaniards, Italians and Portuguese.
People chanted “Athens, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon – everyone in the streets!” as they marched on Syntagma Square carrying flags. There were minor clashes with police, but the demonstration was mainly peaceful.
Meanwhile, in Brussels eggs and firecrackers were thrown at Portugal’s embassy as part of the solidarity protests as crowds of people came to the European Union headquarters to demonstrate.
But although the demonstrations in Belgium were largely peaceful, the unions managed to disrupt transport links as railway workers halted high-speed train services countrywide.
France was hit by 130 rallies against austerity measures, with the French government lashed by the demonstrators.
The French General Confederation of Labor referred to the 14 November strikes as the first “social movement of this scale” in the history of the EU.
The European Day of Action and Solidarity organized under the slogan “For Jobs and Solidarity in Europe. No to Austerity” was meant to deliver a message to EU leaders to stop raising taxes and cutting government spending.
But despite mounting frustration and public anger, the governments of the crisis-stricken EU countries are showing few signs of abandoning austerity, which they believe is the best method to get their economies out of debt and back on a sound footing.
excellent! if only people in america and canada would wake up as well.
its just a big mash, people with no jobs and loads of cost and no sign of a better living in close future.
I don' t know if this has to do with waking up it is trying to survive.
Is it not that bad in Canada yet?
Some Texans are awake-I would guess it wouldn't jive with your agenda now that the bolshevicks are in the White House
I didn't know about at all, Kelly. I had to look it up myself. I just thought I'd share it. To understand better what's going on and the meaning of "The austerity mesasures", here's the meaning and it's effects to the people, taken from Wikipedia:
"In economics, austerity refers to a policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided. Austerity policies are often used by governments to try to reduce their deficit spending and are sometimes coupled with increases in taxes to demonstrate long-term fiscal solvency to creditors.
Supporters of austerity predict that under expansionary fiscal contraction (EFC), a major reduction in government spending can change future expectations about taxes and government spending, encouraging private consumption and resulting in overall economic expansion.
Critics argue that, in periods of recession and high unemployment, austerity policies are counter-productive, because: a) reduced government spending can increase unemployment, which increases safety net spending while reducing tax revenue; b) reduced government spending reduces GDP, which means the debt to GDP ratio examined by creditors and rating agencies does not improve; and c) short-term government spending financed by deficits supports economic growth when consumers and businesses are unwilling or unable to do so.
Austerity measures are typically taken if there is a threat that a government cannot honor its debt liabilities. Such a situation may arise if a government has borrowed in foreign currencies that they have no right to issue or if they have been legally forbidden from issuing their own currency. In such a situation, banks and investors may lose trust in a government's ability and/or willingness to pay and either refuse to roll over existing debts or demand extremely high interest rates. In such situations, inter-governmental institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) may demand austerity measures in exchange for functioning as a lender of last resort. When the IMF requires such a policy, the terms are known as 'IMF conditionalities'.
In some cases, governments became highly indebted after assuming private debts following banking crises. For example, this occurred after Ireland assumed the debts of its private banking sector during the European sovereign debt crisis
Development projects, welfare, and other social spending are common programs that are targeted for cuts: Taxes, port and airport fees, train and bus fares are common sources of increased user fees. Retirement ages may be raised and government pensions reduced.
In many cases, austerity measures have been associated with protest movements claiming significant decline in standard of living. A representative example is the nation of Greece. The financial crisis—particularly the austerity package put forth by the EU and the IMF— was met with great anger by the Greek public, leading to riots and social unrest. On 27 June 2011, trade union organizations commenced a forty-eight hour labor strike in advance of a parliamentary vote on the austerity package, the first such strike since 1974. Massive demonstrations were organized throughout Greece, intended to pressure parliament members into voting against the package. The second set of austerity measures was approved on 29 June 2011, with 155 out of 300 members of parliament voting in favor. However, one United Nations official warned that the second package of austerity measures in Greece could pose a violation of human rights.
it will spread to all corners of the world....................viva revolucion
A quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher goes along the lines of
lol, you have no socialism in the USA.
We got some socialism in our country, and it doesn't work so bad.
many people , especially in America, are scared of some sort of socialist equality of population. that much is true. They would welcome that socialist Nesara money, yet I can see same people protecting their free socialist money with a loaded gun and American flag whipping around their front lawns.........................
I see all this as a big idiocracy.....................
Solarkid, what country you live in ?
doesn't sound that bad at all, feather
It is the way, Canada is not a socialist country but have adopted many ideas, free medical, pension plan, (small), an old age retirement plan, unemployment and of course welfare. Those making small fixed incomes get big drug discounts and some for free, cleaned up most waters, etc but still long ways to go.
The austerity measures may be the straw that breaks the camels back, or show I say the peoples' back, and will force them to take their countries back out of sheer survival mode. This is huge news, Shama-an!
Hey, Shama-an, where's the video you promised? No video? We riot! :)
i get this: This Connection is Untrusted; on your link