Belgium’s new center-right government imposed the austerity measures to cover budget shortfalls, prompting harsh reactions from the population.
The BBC said:
Belgium’s new government plans to raise the pension age, freeze wages and make public service cuts to meet EU targets.
Some 100,000 Belgians took to the streets. Reports summarized:
Protesters held banners and burned flares as they walked down the streets of Brussels, disrupting trains and buses throughout the capital of the European Union (EU), AFP said.
The austerity measures announced by Prime Minister Charles Michel would include the pension age extension, wage freeze, cut of public services, decrease in funding of civil service, culture and research, Deutsche Welle said.
Among them were violent protesters who clashed with police in the streets in a scene that has become familiar across the globe – riot police firing tear gas and a holding a line against individuals throwing flares and other objects, setting fires and turning over cars. A large police vehicle also fired water cannons on protesters.
The underlying causes are global in scope, and reflect major changes in world order that are now putting major pressure on Europe in particular on several fronts.