UK & World News
Anti-Austerity Strikes: Protests Grip Europe
A wave of anti-austerity anger is sweeping across Europe with general strikes in Spain and Portugal and walkouts in Greece and Italy - grounding flights, closing schools and shutting down transport.
Millions of workers have been taking part in the dozens of co-ordinated protests in a so-called European Day of Action and Solidarity against spending cuts and tax hikes.
In Portugal, violent clashes took place between activists and police officers in Lisbon, and one woman was seen being repeatedly struck with a baton.
In Italy, local media reported that six police officers were injured, including one seriously, as clashes broke out with protesters at demonstrations in Milan and Turin.
Around 20 activists allegedly beat an officer with a stick and baseball bats in Turin, while five officers were hurt during running street battles in central Milan.
In Spain - the fourth-biggest eurozone economy - activists and unions will be staging an evening rally outside the parliament in the Madrid.
Protests got under way early in Madrid and Barcelona, with protesters clashing with police as they attempted to blockade buses and cause disruption at food markets.
Riot police fired rubber bullets at hundreds of protesters in Madrid's Cibeles Square and used night-sticks to quell picket line disturbances, as more than 80 people were arrested.
Airlines operating in the country including Iberia, Iberia Express, Air Nostrum, Vueling, Air Europa and easyJet cut more than 600 flights including some 250 international routes.
Heathrow said, of its normal 1,300 daily services, 39 flights - nearly all involving Spain or Portugal - had been cancelled.
Hospitals in Spain fully staffed emergency and surgery rooms, but non-essential care was scaled back.
Spain, where one in four workers is unemployed, is now teetering on the brink of calling for a European bailout, with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy trying to put off a rescue that could require even more EU-mandated budget cuts.
Italy's biggest trade union CGIL called strikes in dozens of cities - and thousands of workers took to the streets calling for more safeguards for jobs and pensions and protesting against Prime Minister Mario Monti's government.
Student Mario Nobile, 23, said: "Europe is waking up today - from Rome to Madrid to Athens."
Protests are also being called in 40 towns and cities across bailed-out Portugal, including Lisbon and Porto.
Portuguese airline TAP said it was grounding more than 160 flights, most of them international.
Greece, struggling to satisfy international lenders that it has cut spending sufficiently to qualify for bailout funds and to avoid default, has called a three-hour walkout and a rally in Athens.
The European Trade Union Confederation said it was the first time that it had appealed for a day of action that includes simultaneous strike action in four countries.
"By sowing austerity, we are reaping recession, rising poverty and social anxiety," its general secretary Bernadette Segol said in an online statement.
"In some countries, people's exasperation is reaching a peak. We need urgent solutions to get the economy back on track, not stifle it with austerity. Europe's leaders are wrong not to listen to the anger of the people who are taking to the streets."
Union-led rallies are also being called across France and in Poland, while high-speed Thalys rail services between Belgium and Germany have been cancelled for the day.
Just 20% of Spain's long-distance trains and a third of its commuter trains are expected to run, while Lisbon's Metro will be shut completely with only 10% of rail services in action.
Tensions have been rising in Spain since last Friday when a woman jumped from her apartment to her death as bailiffs tried to evict her from her home in the country's second apparent suicide linked to evictions.
On Monday, the country's largest banks agreed to halt repossessions for the most vulnerable for two years.
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what do you think?
Orange, youi could mention that this is happening today, or is it. It seems to be, but nowhere does it actually say so. It could be tomorrow, for all I know. Your journalism is simply awful. All I can comment on the story is that the strikes will only make matters much worse.
The clue is in the first paragraph!
Don't bother Jeff. Wragg thinks he is a teacher of a 1930's school.
Why cannot people protest peacefully?? Do these IDIOTS not realise that the damage they cause has to be repired or items have to be replaced, thus someone has to PAY for this, and money and at a time when money is tight, jobs are scarce etc. Then there's there are the Police, Fire Brigade & Ambulance Crews that are needed to cover all this, and that costs money too. Not exactly the right way to do protest me thinks is it??
That's slave mentality. People in power love people like you
Steve - he's either a rich man or a rich mans wet dream!
What's a few burned tyres and broken windows compared to the destruction of the lives of millions of ordinary people? People are angry and fighting back. Even when they demonstrate they are attacked by police with stun grenades and tear gas - just for demonstrating. And in some countries police, soldiers and emergency service people are striking and demonstrating.
Good. Direct action is the only language governments understand. If ALL the peoples of Europe united there is not a ruling elite that could stand against them. Reject austerity. Reject poverty. Reject the slow strangulation of our secular liberal democracy by thatcherite faceless capitalism. WHY AFTER FIVE YEARS HAS NO BANKER EVER FACED PROSECUTION FOR THE THEFT OF BILLIONS OF POUNDS? Because they are protected by the ruling elite. .
Fully agree Stevie Camorons quote "We're all in this together" hasn't touched the rich. No tax loopholes stopped, no child benefit stoppage for the millionaires - but they ARE targetting the poor, elderly and the disabled!
Gypsy56 - you got that right! But be careful on orange world, sad as it is there are so many sheeple who believe in slavelike mentality to the state and capitalism. . Expect to be voted down
Why do you not include " Reject imports " ?
Edgar - jesus threw the money lenders out of the temple. How do you try and marry your own love of money, and right wing politics with your supposed christian faith? Cant have it both ways son. No doubt your silence will be deafening as usual. .
Capitalism = greed. It is MORALLY RIGHT to take direct action against the state. Wat Tyler understood this. Christian martyr John Ball understood this. The Tolpuddle Martyrs understood this - so did the Luddites and Peterloo Martyrs. Percy Toplis understood this. The ruling elite in this country is corrupt and rotten. Take capitalism and dig it into the soil of history. . . . And then salt the earth
I think you'll find Stevie, this is caused by socialist governments spending other people's money then when that's gone, they borrow on their taxpayer's account and their children's futures........until it's all splashed away..........like now. Spain now has 176 airports constructed, some never even operating, using borrowed money, including our money extracted by devious EU agreements. Socialsts are the real evil, purporting to represent the wider populous yet stealing from them.
Its sickening that so many people support the immoral elite, who believe that our inherent right to protest should be taken away. Perhaps they believe in hardline totalitarian goverment? They'd be the first to complain when the security services arrested them at 3am for speaking out. . . THE ONLY REASON WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO PROTEST IS BECAUSE PEOPLE IN HISTORY HAVE GIVEN THEIR BLOOD, THEIR VERY LIVES, FOR PERSONAL LIBERTY. . . .
Gengis - never been a socialist or a communist so wouldn't know. I believe in democracy and liberty and know capitalism is evil. CAPITALISM - FASCISM IN A SMART SUIT. CAPITALISM - FASCISM BY ANY OTHER NAME
There are no genuine socialist governments in Europe, they are like our Labour Party, carrying out cuts at the bidding of the capitalists who caused this crisis in the first place.
Captial is a universal means of exchange in return for an item or service rendered, remove capital and you return to bartering. Maybe no bad thing, except civilisations advanced using a universal means of payment for trade. Remove it and many people would starve. Controlling it's abuse,..........yes a worthy cause, but how? Governments cannot trusted not to abuse it for their own selfish means.
Geng, I don't know if you're taking the word 'capital' literally, on purpose, but I think you've entirely missed the point. As a socialist, I have nothing against 'capital' as such, of course, it is a workable and convenient way of exchanging goods and services. It's not about capital, it's about capitalism and capitalists who put profits way above the social need, who accumulate profits to the detriment of a decent, living wage, decent homes, jobs, health service etc. But, of course, you know that, you're just being coy, aren't you, because really you have no real argument.
I thought the EU was all about harmony and prosperity across europe, or is it just prosperity for the EU barons in Brussels
All German Engineers Out of Iran surely
I thing you are out of your mind Barry,they should report you to the Police,for spreading hateful remarks,against the German.
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The supporters of the EU never tire of telling us how thanks to the EU the peace of Europe has been preserved since 1945. They don't seem to be having much success with their peace initiatives in Greece, Spain & Portugal at the moment with conflict on the streets a seemingly daily occurence
It `s about a War between European states,not killing each other anymore,60 million Europeans were killed in WW1,and more millions,in WW2,this is what they decided in 1945,no more killing !! according to my History book! Now we are dealing with demonstrator,or did you see any Tanks,and Guns,and blood running in Greece,Spain,Portugal?
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I wonder which European Country will be the first to introduce Martial law.
The fightback is spreading across 23 European countries today, a further ratcheting up of our struggle, already international in character, is now coming together with co-ordinated action. The great movement of international workers is growing and we're not even halfway through the cuts agenda in some countries. Brilliant.
What absolute twaddle you speak Mr Robinson. Sitting on your backside looking at pictures of Che/Trotsky is not going to solve our problems. That is the trouble with you 'Laptop Socialists'. If you have lived and worked in other parts of the world, like I have, where freedom and social securirt' does not exist, you would not rant on with such ignorance. Please believe me Mr Robinson, your greatest prize in the lottery of life is to be born with a british Passport. Put your laptop away and contribute!!!
Several points here, Steve, (once I can stop laughing). I don't sit on my backside looking at pictures of Che/Trotsky (although I have read a lot of Trotsky - he's excellent). I HAVE lived and worked 'in other parts of the world', one of them the military/police dictatorship of Thailand where kids with down Syndrome in rags sleep on the streets. And I DO regard myself as lucky to have been born in an advanced country. What I object to is being forced by capitalists to pay for their greed. I don't own a laptop and I contribute. I have a job. Also, I am actually quite politically active in building a new party of the left. So really, you were wrong on all counts.
Well said Chris ,we all need to fight the good fight ,Socialism is the new religion Cameron thinks it is going away the Russian revolution was just a rehearsal it did not take long for capitalists gorge on their greedy freedom. Old saying give them enough rope and they will hang themsevles.
Thanks, Mike. The Russian Revolution WAS a dress rehearsal and the trick will be to ensure we don't allow an undemocratic bureaucracy to hijack it as it was under the Stalinists. But now Stalinism has been swept away and capitalism's temporary triumphalism has now turned to ashes, more and more people are looking to democratic socialism.
Yes my thoughts and believes the paranoia of Joe Stalin has done a lot of damage to Socialism.But truth and what is right will win through.
Brian E Gorton
Ship all your manufacturing to one or two countries,soon the rest have no money.World economy callapses.Multi nationals take over all your manufacturing base,shut them down ship them out to sweat shop labour countries make big bucks and tough,they dont care about the people left without a job!!!!
soon mobiles and internet will be heavily monitored. this is john connor,
yes ali,they will like in many other countries,and we will get more power cuts,to stop people to spread the information
Ali Ababa yes a bit like this one when people use rasit comments over elitism
The Nobel prize just given to the EU - what was it for again?
This isn't war, this is mass strikes and, in some cases, pre-revolutionary situations. But, you're right, giving a continent a Nobel Prize seems a little silly.
they gave Obama the Nobel prize,after 100 days in to his Job,did Obama achieve much changes,did he really deserves the Prize ? I would question the institution,who is giving the Prize away!
Yeah, so, you go from reading about one business making a £40,000,000 profit then suddenly to Europe has no money? They can protest however they like, so far as I'm concerned.
the strikes are organised by the Unions,not by Hoodies,or ,rioters,Europa is not at war with Merkel,they are against their own system!!!
Karen von Cripps
This is inevitable. Yes, its all a mess, but its the lowest in society paying for the greedy wealthy elite. So, bring it! Leaders can either learn from it or ignore it; either way a fairer, more just system will have to be brought in eventually, but probably only when it starts to kill them. All i can see in this country is the banks, the rich and the government all stuffing as much as they can at the expense of the sick and disabled and small businesses and decent people who try to earn a living. The whole system is corrupt and wrong. The question is, how long are we going to take it?
Well said, Karen. totally agree. As you can see, the fightback is gathering pace across Europe. The struggle there, particularly in the mediterranean states, is at a higher level as they've bigger cuts. As yet, we've 'only' had 20%. It will only get worse, and people's willingness to fightback will become more determined as time goes on.
With all due respect Chris,where do you pluck that figure of 20% cuts from in this country? The real figure of our cuts is around the 1% mark so that seems to have had a bit of socialist licence applied to it.
Didn't 'pluck' it. Depending on which reports you read, it's between 15% - 20%. However, if we go with your estimate that we've only had 1% cuts so far...boy, are we in worse trouble than anyone imagined. 'Socialist licence'? Surely, if I had wanted to make things appear 'worse than what they are', presumably in your view to make 'socialist propaganda', I would have lowered my figure to 1%? Your statement doesn't make much sense.
When the pendulum swings too far to the rich minority, then the majority turn on them, in the French revolution the rich lost their riches along with their heads.
good on you the people of Europe enough is enough burn it down
great stuff you europeans ........... as has been forecast ............... europe will soon descend into the same type of despondancy that ENABLE HITLER TO COME TO POWER