Anti-austerity protests held across Europe

Demonstrators take to streets in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Germany as anger against continent-wide cutbacks grows.

    Demonstrators across Europe have embarked on protests against government austerity measures. 

    Protesters took to the streets in Spain, Portugal and Greece on Saturday to direct their anger against the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) while in Germany, demonstrators rallied for the second day in succession. 

    Protesters say they are demonstrating against the institutions' role in pushing for austerity cutbacks as a way to fight the continent's debt crisis.

    On Friday, members of the Blockupy alliance linked arms for several hours in the streets of Germany's financial capital, Frankfurt, blocking routes leading up to the ECB.

    A spokesman for the ECB said the bank remained in operation, without providing details about where its employees were working.

    Along with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund, the ECB is part of the so-called troika that monitors compliance with the conditions of bailout loans negotiated by the governments of Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

    'A success' 

    Those conditions include spending cuts and tax increases aimed at reducing debt. The measures, however, have also worsened recessions and unemployment. 

    We wanted to blockade the ECB and we did that with more than 3,000 people.

    Spokesman Roland Suess

    After the ECB demonstration, several hundred protesters moved to Deutsche Bank's nearby headquarters.

    Their spokesman Roland Suess said the demonstration was a success: "We wanted to blockade the ECB and we did that with more than 3,000 people.''

    The Blockupy movement includes people who participated in the Occupy movement which protested against the role of global capitalism by camping out in cities in a number of countries, as well as critics of globalisation and  embers of left-wing organisations. 

    The unemployment rate across the 17 European countries that use the euro hit a record 12.2 percent in April, and the number of unemployed is on track to reach 20 million by year's end.

    The worsening jobs crisis points to the recession that has gripped the euro alliance.

    Many countries are struggling to stimulate growth while grappling with a debt crisis that's led governments to slash spending and raise taxes. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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