Monday, January 16, 2012

Europe anti-austerity rallies turn ugly

Riot police clash with protesters at University Square in the Romanian capital Bucharest during a protest against the government's austerity program and Romanian President Traian Basescu on January 14, 2012.

Source: Press TV

Police forces have clashed with anti-austerity protesters in Spain, Greece, and Romania, arresting several activists and injuring many others.

During the latest such protests in Spain, police scuffled with demonstrators in the capital Madrid on Sunday, detaining three people and wounding several others.

Scuffles broke out when 'indignant' Spaniards gathered at a Madrid subway station to protest against rises in the cost of public transportation. Dozens of protesters entered the station and refused to pay, shouting slogans such as “I don't pay for your crisis.”

In the Greek capital Athens, riot police attacked around 2,000 demonstrators protesting against job cuts outside parliament, before detaining three and injuring one.

The demonstrators say Athens has failed to decrease its debt, despite massive lay-offs. Last year, the Greek government cut 10,000 jobs and announced plans for further lay-offs in 2012.

Clashes between riot police and demonstrators have also erupted in the Romanian capital Bucharest for a third day in a row.

At least seven people, including a number of police officers, were injured in the confrontations.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against President Traian Basescu, whom they blame for the country's falling living standards, and called on him to step down.

The demonstrations originally started on Thursday in a show of support for Deputy Health Minister Raed Arafat, who resigned earlier in the week, and as a protest against a pension freeze and a 25 percent cut in public sector wages approved by Romania's center-right government in July 2010.

Arafat, a doctor born in Palestine, had harshly criticized a draft healthcare reform bill and entered a dispute with the president, who is a main supporter of the potential law.

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