30 Sep 2010

Austerity protest in Brussels

6:09 am on 30 September 2010

Protesters from around Europe have been marching across Brussels in a protest against spending cuts by some EU governments.

The European Trade Union Confederation said it hoped that about 100,000 people would march on EU buildings in the capital.

Other protests against austerity measures are being held in Greece, Italy, the Irish Republic and Latvia.

The BBC reports a general strike is also taking place in Spain, hitting transport and other public services.

Trade unions claim that working people in the European Union may become the biggest victims of the financial crisis.

Many governments across the 27-member bloc have imposed cuts in wages, pensions and employment to deal with spiralling debt.

Unemployment figures are at their highest level in 10 years in Greece and the Irish Republic, while Spain's unemployment has doubled in three years.

In Britain, the government is planning to slash spending by up to 25% in some areas. France has seen protests against a planned increase in the minimum retirement age.