Widespread protests in Europe reflected the impact and pain of austerity measures around the European Union. Students led demonstrations in several Spanish cities. In Valencia their anger was fuelled by allegations of police brutality. However, there was a common theme across the country – no more cuts.
One young man taking part in a protest in Madrid said: “We don’t accept that we have to pay for a crisis we did not create. The government is paying for it with cuts in public education and health.”
France’s five main unions took the lead in rallies there. It was the latest in a series of coordinated strikes and protests against the government’s programme of belt-tightening. The events sent a clear signal to President Nicola Sarkozy, who is seeking re-election in just a few weeks time.