Demonstrations turn to disorder in Europe

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Europe’s day of demonstrations turned into a night of disorder in Spain and Portugal. In Madrid, police fired rubber bullets to disperse protestors. Rubbish bins were set on fire, filling the streets with smoke.

Almost 50 people were hurt when police clashed with demonstrators in Lisbon. More than 140 people were arrested across both cities.

The protests began peacefully enough in Brussels, but the situation deteriorated as eggs were thrown at the Geman embassy in the Belgian capital.

The continent-wide day of strikes and solidarity was organised by the European Trade Unions Congress.

The protestors’ anger seems unlikely to result in any policy shifts from under-pressure politicians, however. Angela Merkel assured reporters in Berlin that protestors’ issues would be adressed, but improving outdated labour markets, employment, flexibility and job opportunities for young people were also important issues to be worked on. This will be made clear in talks with unions, she added.

Around three thousand demonstrators gathered outside the Greek parliament building in Syntagma Square in Athens.

Amid the protests, there was a message of hope.

A puppet theatre brought a larger-than-life marionette – meant to symbolise Greece being struck down but ultimately rising again, surrounded by the white doves of freedom.

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