In Europe, Protesters Rail Against Budget Cuts

BY Larisa Epatko  September 29, 2010 at 3:50 PM EST

Tens of thousands of protesters marched Wednesday in Brussels and trade unions planned strikes in Spain over planned austerity measures that are aimed at preventing an economic crisis in Europe, though critics say they would harm the poor.

Protesters carrying banners and waving union flags marched to EU headquarters in the capital of Belgium. Some scuffled with police in riot gear.

“The main feeling of the people is that for the banking system there are millions and billions of euros, but the social payments are being cut. That’s not right,” German coal miner Ralf Kutkowski said in Brussels, quoted Reuters.

The protest organizers, the European Trade Union Confederation, said they called for rallies in 13 European capitals. Spanish unions held a general strike over measures including spending cuts and pension reforms.

The European Commission also called on new penalties for countries that run up too much debt.

The BBC provided this video report on the protests across Europe.