Riot police clash with protesters in Brussels
Fri Apr 4, 2014 2:6PM GMT
Belgium riot police have clashed with union workers protesting against austerity measures near the US Embassy in Brussels, using water cannons to disperse the demonstrators.
The clashes erupted on Friday as some 25,000 people protested against austerity measures imposed across the European Union member states.
Police officers used water cannons and pepper spray against protesters in a bid to disperse the crowd, as protesters threw oranges and cobblestones at the officers.
The violence left one police officer injured and paralyzed traffic in the Belgian capital while sending the US Embassy into lockdown.
The demonstration was called by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to protest against the implementation of spending cuts in response to Europe's economic crisis.
"Austerity is not working. Austerity is causing a mounting social and economic crisis; over 26 million Europeans are jobless," said ETUC leader Bernadette Segol ahead of the demonstration.
Protesters also voiced their concerns over social dumping -- that is replacing local hires with cheaper workers -- as well as the practice of exporting jobs to low-wage countries.
Europe is struggling with an economic crisis that erupted in early 2008, leaving millions unemployed and in financial distress.
The worsening debt crisis has forced EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered massive protests in many European countries.