Belgian’s marched on the streets of Brussels to protest looming austerity measures. The incoming government, due to be sworn in on Monday, have defended the cuts they say are vital to public finances.
At least 50,000 demonstrators however, disagree.
Steven Marchand, member of the Flemish Socialist Union ABVV said:
“We are happy that we are getting a new government and that is a relief but on the other hand, we are not convinced that the measures they’re suggesting are as socially acceptable as they could be.”
Employees from the public sector, metal workers, and builders, dressed in green, red or blue to show their support for the three main unions in Belgium.
Protester Thierry Lemmens said:
“I work at Mittal in Herstal and what am I doing here? They want workers to pay a little bit more. That’s enough, we’ve paid enough. We’ve paid for our jobs like we’ve paid for everything else.”
A worker from Virton added:
“ It’s really difficult at the moment, an average salary of 15,00 euros simply isn’t enough.”
The Brussels protests follow a wave of demonstrations across the EU in recent months, as cash strapped workers feel the pinch.
Belgium needs to save 11.3 billion euros by next year to bring its budget deficit below the EU limit.
Many believe the banks and financial institutions are responsible for the current crisis and are calling for them to pick up the austerity bill.
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