ArcelorMittal workers clash with police over Belgium closures

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ArcelorMittal workers clash with police over Belgium closures

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A protest against planned job losses at ArcelorMittal has led to clashes between riot police and workers in Belgium’s Wallonian capital of Namur.

Water cannon were used to drive back protestors who were throwing small items at the police.

The world’s leading steel and mine company has decided to close a plant in Liège and six production lines in Belgium, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

Workers have the backing of Belgium’s prime minister Elio Di Rupo, who said he supports efforts to find an industrial solution after meeting with ArcelorMittal union leaders.

The world’s biggest steel maker, headed by Lakshmi Mittal, is blaming the closures on a fall in demand of up to nine percent last year.

Workers clashed with police in Brussels on Friday during another protest against the closures.

The Liège plant is heavily dependent on car manufacturing – car sales in the EU fell 8.2 percent in 2012, leading to overcapacity at the plant.

ArcelorMittal will continue to operate five steel production lines in Belgium which employ 800 people.