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Mega strike hits Europe

 
 
 
 
 
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2300 GMT:

Protesters in Barcelona burn two police cars forcing officers to respond with rubber bullets. Several people injured.

­2200 GMT: A group of protesters have set a barricade on fire on Madrid’s Santa Maria de la Cabeza street, El Pais reports.

1945 GMT: At least 118 people have been detained across Spain, according to El Pais. At least 40 have been injured, 18 of them police officers.

1930 GMT:

­Spanish police have reportedly fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters in Barcelona.

1800 GMT: A total of 232 flights have been canceled across Spain due to the general strike.

­1700 GMT: Riot police have clashed with several protesters attempting to drive crowdsoff the streets of Lisbon.

­1640 GMT: Crowds gather in the streets of Lisbon to protest austerity measures, chanting “Greece, Spain, Ireland and Portugal, our struggle is international”

14:55 GMT:

Union members and students have run wild in the streets of Rome along the Tiber river, throwing firecrackers, bottles and ripping down street signs, ANSA cites police as saying. Up to 50 people have reportedly been arrested. Armored cars were deployed and teargas was fired to disperse hardliner demonstrators who lobbed rocks near Rome’s Synagogue.

14:35 GMT: The number of arrests in Spain has now risen to 82. Among those detained were a man and a woman from Madrid who were allegedly carrying material to build a bomb, including gasoline, nails, screws and a firecracker, El Mondo reports.

14:30 GMT: Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators have taken to the streets throughout the autonomous community of Galica, the home region of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

14:10 GMT: The face-off between police and protesters in Madrid has ended for the time being. After sporadic clashes, demonstrators have finally backed down from the police cordon near the iconic Plaza de Cibeles in the heart of the city.

­14:02 GMT: A young man is being dragged from his bicycle by riot police in Madrid as the atmosphere on the streets of the capital remains tense.

14:00 GMT: Leaflets which read ‘they leave us without a future’ are scattered throughout the streets of Madrid.

13:45 GMT:

The 5,000-strong protest in Athens has ended peacefully. The demonstrators concluded their march on Syntagma Square, which has been the focus of mass anti-austerity protests since 2010.

13:30 GMT: A young protester is visibly distraught after suffering a head injury during clashes with police in the northeastern Spanish city of Tarragona.

13:20 GMT: Two police officers were sent to the hospital in the Northern Italian city of Padua after large firecrackers exploded in their vicinity during clashes with demonstrators, ANSA reports. One officer suffered lacerations to his legs, while another passed out from the explosion.

12:59 GMT: Six police officers have reportedly been injured in Milan and Turin, according to Italian media reports. One of them is in serious condition. A group of 20 demonstrators reportedly fell on a riot police officer, beating him with baseball bats and sticks.

12:40 GMT: There have been more sporadic clashes in Madrid between police and protesters as thousands continue to gather on the central square of Puerta del Sol. A group of young protesters forced down the metal grille on the front of a souvenir shop on the city’s main square, forcing it to shut down, AFP reports.

12:30 GMT: Protesters march through the streets of Athens, Greece carrying the Portuguese, Greek and Spanish flag. Around 3,000 people have gathered so far amidst chants of “Athens, Rome, Madrid, Lisbon – everyone in the streets!”

11:06 GMT: The number of arrests in Spain during the general strike has now risen to 62 with 32 people injured, 18 of whom are police officers.

10:51 GMT: In France syndicates have organized around 130 rallies against austerity measures and the French government.

“This is the first time in the history of the EU that a social movement of this scale will take place simultaneously in a number of countries,” said the French General Confederation of Labor in a statement.

10:11 GMT: The total of arrests in Spain has now reached 57, according to Spanish police. A protester was detained in Malaga in the south of the country after he attacked a police officer outside a bar, reports Spanish publication elMundo.

10:02 GMT: A countrywide railway strike has paralyzed Belgium, forcing thousands of commuters to take to already crowded motorways. The disruption includes nigh-speed services to London and Paris.

10:00 GMT: Thousands of people are marching in the center of Florence, Italy to protest Prime Minister Mario Monti’s austerity measures.

09:39 GMT: A general strike has been organized in Portugal with anti-austerity rallies in 40 towns and cities throughout the country. Transport services have effectively ground to a halt, with only 10 per cent of train services expected to run.

­09:31 GMT: Police have arrested 42 people across Spain for damaging public property and disorderly behavior as protests began this morning. In addition, 18 people have been injured in scuffles with police throughout the country.

09:25 GMT: Mass anti-austerity rallies are unfolding throughout the EU as thousands of workers voice their rage at crippling government cuts as part of the European Day of Action and Solidarity. General strikes have already begun in Portugal, Greece, Italy and Spain where the EU’s financial downturn has hit hardest.

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