PARIS – Thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully Sunday in Paris to denounce austerity measures in Europe that have sparked violent protests in other EU countries struggling to avert fiscal crises.
The march, organized largely by the Left Front party and the Communists, comes before the French parliament’s debate this week on a European fiscal treaty. Organizers put turnout at more than 80,000; Paris police declined to provide an estimate.
Thousands of people across Germany have protested for the introduction of taxes on wealth and financial transactions.
Organizers said Saturday around 40,000 people took to the streets in 40 cities to demand a more equal society.
Discontent in Spain and Greece is rising.
Greece’s two largest labor unions went on strike today, disrupting flight and train services and forcing hospitals to depend on emergency staff.
This is the first general strike in Greece since the coalition government came to power.
Protestors gathering around the Greek Parliament in Athens, throwing Molotov cocktails at the riot police but have been pushed out of the main square now, according to BBC.
Meanwhile, Spain which saw massive anti-austerity protests yesterday, also saw a smaller number of demonstrators take to the streets today. But the demonstrations are expected to gather steam and some reports say 1,300 police officers have been deployed to keep clashes in check.
Spain is also grappling with the threat of a Catalan secession, a crucial economic region of the country. And pressure is building on Mariano Rajoy to request a sovereign bailout, though he has said he will only do so if the country’s borrowing costs stay high over a long period of time.
Markets are selling off across Europe. Spain is down 3 percent, and yields on the Spanish 10-year surged this morning.
We will be updating this feature through the day.
In Spain, violent demonstrations over the state of the Spanish economy just outside the national Parliament building in Madrid on Tuesday evening made headlines all over the globe. You can view video of police brutally beating young Spanish protesters during those demonstrations right here.
(Reuters) – Thousands of Portuguese protested on Saturday against austerity, stepping up their opposition to the country’s 78-billion-euro bailout ahead of new spending cuts and tax hikes to be announced in the government’s 2013 draft budget.
(Associated Posers) – MADRID, SPAIN – The European Debt Crisis is reaching the boiling point as Spain and Portugal brace for massive “austerity” protests. The official unemployment rate in Spain is around 25% while half of those under 24 are out of work, leaving them plenty of time to protest. Meanwhile Spain is set to borrow upwards of $266 billion (in US dollars) next year in a rescue package.
The 2013 budget proposal would freeze public sector wages while trimming ministry budgets by 8.9% and the budget also assumes increased revenue from a higher VAT tax, as the country struggles to get a grip on an out of control deficit. The government claims the higher tax revenue will cut the deficit from 9% to 6.3% of the budget.
“This is a crisis budget aimed at emerging from the crisis … In this budget there is a larger adjustment of spending than revenue,” Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told a news conference after a marathon six-hour cabinet meeting. The government was also analyzing conditions for a bailout package of its own. Pensions will rise by only 1%, not keeping up with inflation. In a sign of how tight the budget is this year the government said it would use 3 billion euros from social security reserves to pay pensions in 2012.