Tag Archives: protest

European austerity protests: country-by-country links

Protests against the austerity budget cuts broke out all over Europe today (and all week).  Most of the coverage focuses on the massive 100,000 person demonstration in Brussels at the European Union’s headquarters, but there were also in various actions in other countries, such as a general strike in Spain, railway workers and doctors refusing to work in Greece, and customs officers and journalists walking off in Slovenia.

Below are links to news from each of those uprisings.  Analysis of the uprisings to come in the next couple of days and this page will be updated as more stories come in.

People Power In Brussels
Austerity protests: The view from the street

General strike in Spain to protest against austerity measures. Across Spain picketers took to the streets to protest against government austerity measures in a 24-hour general strike called by the nation’s main labour unions.

Austerity on Fire: Video of street battles in Spain as protests heat up

Thousands in new protest against Romanian austerity plan: third protest in a week
Romanian Govt In Uproar Amid Austerity Protests

Greek railway workers, doctors walk off the job over austerity cuts

Unions stage protests in Dublin and Galway over cuts

Thousands of Slovenian public workers strike to protest planned freeze of their wages

Portugal prepares more austerity, talks resume amid protests


Tens of Thousands March in Brussels Over Austerity

by David Brunnstrom Reuters

Tens of thousands of people marched through Brussels on Wednesday on a day of protests across Europe against government austerity measures, which unions say will slow economic recovery and punish the poor. (Editors note: many are reporting over 100,000)

“The main feeling of the people is that for the banking system there are millions and billions of euros, but the social payments are being cut. That’s not right,” said Ralf Kutkowski, a German coal miner protesting in the Belgian capital.

Marchers in Brussels, heading for the EU’s headquarters, waved union flags and carried banners saying “No to austerity” and “Priority to jobs and growth.” The 50 unions represented included German coal miners, Romanian gas workers and Polish shipbuilders.

The protest was led by a group dressed in black suits with black face masks, carrying umbrellas and briefcases, acting as the head of a funeral cortege mourning the death of Europe.

The protest organizers, the European Trade Union Confederation, were aiming to get 100,000 people to march. Belgian police and the unions did not immediately estimate crowd numbers but one police official told Reuters at least 50,000 people were taking part.

Spain’s first general strike for eight years, a protest against the Socialist government’s public spending cuts and easier hire-and-fire laws, had a limited impact beyond disrupting transport and some factories.

Spanish unions said 10 million people, or more than half the workforce, were on strike. The government gave no numbers.

European governments say they have been forced into austerity to avert the danger of a sovereign debt crisis like the one suffered by Greece, but many workers feel they are being punished for problems that were not of their making.

“We don’t want to take it on our backs,” said Philipp Jacks, a German trade unionist marching in Brussels.

Graham Smith, a public sector youth worker from Edinburgh in Scotland, said: “The message is we need our public services because the people who need them most are the people being hit most by the crisis.”


Protests have taken place in many countries in the last few months. Protests on Wednesday were planned in Brussels, Dublin, Lisbon, Rome, Paris, Riga, Warsaw, Nicosia, Bucharest, Prague, Vilnius, Belgrade and Athens.

Greece’s main unions, representing about 2.5 million workers, did not strike on Wednesday but plan to march to parliament in the evening to protest against measures prescribed by the EU and the IMF in return for bailing the country out.

A few smaller unions called job walkouts. Greek hospitals doctors stopped work for 24 hours and public transport was disrupted.

In Slovenia, about half of public sector workers remained on strike for the third day against a planned wage freeze, causing jams at border crossings with non-EU Croatia.

Economists say strikes and protests are unlikely to force any government to abandon structural reforms or savings measures but could make it harder for some leaders to win re-election and limit the scope of some reforms in the long run.

Economic growth has revived in the European Union, home to 500 million people and the executive European Commission expects the bloc’s economy to grow 1.8 percent this year after a 4.2 percent contraction in 2009.

But EU unemployment is running at 9.6 percent of the workforce, and at around twice that rate in Spain, Latvia and Estonia. Unions say austerity will curb job creation.

Financial markets are also worried about whether countries such as Ireland and Portugal can manage their debt burdens and the Commission wants tough sanctions imposed on countries that break debt and budget deficit rules.

“We understand there is a crisis, but it is being used as a very good excuse for all kinds of pressure on the people who are employees, workers and not in big business,” said Alexander Nikolov, who drove from Bulgaria to protest in Brussels.

Dennis Radtue, a coal mining union representative from Germany, said the gap between rich and poor was growing.

“Rich people have a lot of opportunity to save their money and pay no taxes, while a normal worker has to pay taxes whether he wants to or not,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Emily Coleman, writing by Timothy Heritage; Editing by Ruth Pitchford )

PM Harper & bankers dance through downtown

PM Harper & bankers dance through downtown

From The Spoke, Monday June 21st, toronto.mediacoop.ca

On Thursday, June 17, Stephen Harper led a procession of wealthy bankers through the streets of Toronto. Harper and his bankers were followed by a human oil slick. Overworked tax-payers scrambled behind the oil slick with mops and brooms to clean up the mess while Harper and his bankers counted their giant $1billion bills. The action, which was organized by the At the Table Coalition, was a tongue-in-cheek commentary on spending for the G8 and G20 summits when foreign aid has been frozen and Canada’s fair share on climate adaptation has yet to be paid.

Get the full issue of the Monday Spoke

PHOTO: Allan Lissner. [Please check out more of Allan’s fantastic photojournalism]

Why We As Labour Will Be Going to the G20 summit Fence

Why We As Labour Will Be Going to the G20 summit Fence

This is a call from a number of union members to fellow labour and working class people.  It challenges labour to not accept the concept and confines of designated protest zones and is a call for mutual respect for those who go to the summit fence and those who don’t go to the fence.  It is an important attempt to build solidarity and decrease division amongst groups that need to work together.

I have reprinted in full from this Facebook call out… where they have asked people to please forward it widely.

On June 26th, as labour and working class activists and militants, we will be going to the fence when the People’s First demonstration circles back to Queen’s Park.

We will do this to confront and expose the profiteers of the G20 who have been secured behind walls of steel, guns and military force.

We will do this because we remember our history – workers who lost their lives in struggle so we could have the 8 hour day, and homes with families in them burned to the ground so we could have Saturday as part of the weekend.

We will do this because we know our present world is one that workers and trade unionists are being killed as we speak in countries around the globe to continue to ensure that blood for profit is maintained.

We will do this because we know our future will be the strength of all the working class coming together in solidarity to resist and fight back against capitalism.

We will do this because we do not agree with “designated protest zones” that curtail our civil liberties and oppose a “militarized security zone” in the middle of our city which negatively impacts our communities.

This is why we will be going to the fence.

We also respect the choice of our sisters and brothers, allies and comrades who do not to go the fence just as we know they will respect our choice.

We also know that there are many of our sisters and brothers, allies and comrades who do not have the choice and can not join in this collective resistance due to status, fear of threat, or reprisal.

“We’ll live together or we’ll die alone
In our world poisoned by exploitation
Those who have taken, now they must give
And end the vanity of nations

We’ve but one Earth on which to live
And so begins the final drama
In the streets and in the fields
We stand unbowed before their armour

We defy their guns and shields
When we fight, provoked by their aggression
Let us be inspired by like and love
For though they offer us concessions
Change will not come from above”
Lyrics by Billy Bragg from The Internationale

Endorsements: – see Facebook page

We are asking for individuals, locals, labour organizations and/or unions to endorse this call out. Please DM or post on the wall if you want to be added as an endorser (Facebook page). Union and/or organizations are listed for identification purposes only.

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