Workers’ fury over austerity
Protests erupted across Europe yesterday as strikers demonstrated against government cutbacks.
Up to 100,000 people marched through Brussels to the EU headquarters, with action also taking place in Ireland, Greece, Spain, Slovenia and Portugal.
In Barcelona, tourists watched in horror as rioters rampaged on Las Ramblas, the main boulevard, as part of Spain’s first general strike in eight years. Police fired rubber bullets and charged with batons as a patrol car and rubbish bins were set on fire, shop windows were smashed and officers attacked.
At least 40 people were arrested across Spain, with marches also taking place in Madrid and Santander.
In Dublin, a man blocked the entrance to Parliament with a cement truck daubed with Toxic Bank Anglo, in protest at the bank bailouts.
The protests were aimed at budgetslashing, tax-hiking, pension-cutting austerity plans governments have imposed to control debts after the banking crisis.
John Monks of the European Trade Union Confederation said: “How is a regime of punishment going to make the situation better? It is going to make it worse.”
Unions say EU workers may be the biggest victims of a financial crisis set off by bankers. Many Brits also endured travel misery in the Spanish strike. Ryanair axed 69 flights to Spain and all internal flights, while easyJet grounded half of flights and BA warned of delays. Buses and trains were also badly disrupted. Among those hit were Man Utd fans going to the Champions League tie against Valencia.