Wednesday Feb 29, 201210:53 PM GMT
Anti-austerity protests sweep across Europe
Thousands of Czech university students rally in central Prague on February 29, 2012 .
Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:21PM
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Massive demonstrations across Europe have taken issue with the austerity measures adopted by the European governments against economic adversity.

The protests were held on Wednesday in the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Belgium, and Spain against government economic reforms aimed at dealing with the unprecedented debt crisis plaguing the European Union.

Trade union leaders gathered outside the European Council in Brussels, Belgium to demand an end to austerity measures.

In Spain, protests turned violent as police clashed with anti-austerity protesters in the country’s the second largest city, Barcelona. Police in riot gear beat the protesters with batons and a number of arrests were made.

Students have staged demonstrations and sit-in protests across the country to demand an end to Madrid’s austerity measures, labor market reforms, and police violence.

Thousands of Czech university students rallied in the capital Prague, slamming the country’s Education Ministry for introducing tuition fees and boosting the number of government representatives in academic bodies.

The Czech government says the reforms are necessary to boost educational standards and secure more funding.

In France, main unions gathered forces for a day of protest action against austerity measures being imposed across the European Union.

In Greece, unions staged nationwide walkouts hours after the parliament approved new spending cuts to secure a new EUR 130 billion (USD 170 billion) bailout package promised by international lenders and meant to prevent the country from going bankrupt.

The Greek and French protests are part of a day of action called by European labor organizations to pressure the leaders of the 27-member EU into adopting pro-growth measures when they gather for a summit in Brussels over Thursday and Friday.

The eurozone economy is heading into its second round of recession in just three years. The bloc’s last recession was in 2009, when its economy contracted by 4.3 percent.

The Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2010.

Amid the debt crisis, the European Commission has predicted that the eurozone currency bloc faces double-dip recession while the wider EU economy stagnates in 2012.

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