Belgian transport hampered as police expect 50,000 at national demo

Transport services across Belgium were severely disrupted Thursday as tens of thousands of people were expected in Brussels to demonstrate against reforms pursued by the centre-right government of Prime Minister Charles Michel.

It is the fourth nationwide protest since the coalition government took office two years ago, introducing initiatives including pension reforms and an overhaul of the 38-hour working week.

Police expected 50,000 people to take part in the demonstrations across the capital, according to the Belga news agency.

The protest has been organized by the country's three main trade unions, to deliver the message that "this is not a happy anniversary."

Public transport in Brussels was running at a skeleton service early Thursday, while regional train and bus services in several parts of the country were also affected, according to Belga.

National railway services were operating as normal, but the Belgian rail website warned that Brussels' main train station could become very crowded as demonstrators pile into the city.

The international Thalys and Eurostar railway lines were not reporting delays, while Brussels' international airport warned that public transport disruptions could delay passengers' journeys to and from the airport.

Michel's coalition government includes his francophone liberal party, the Flemish liberal party, the Dutch-speaking Christian Democratic party, and - for the first time - the nationalist party N-VA. The government took office in October 2014.

Last update: Thu, 29/09/2016 - 11:45
Author: 

More from Europe

No agreement reached between Russia, Ukraine on gas deliveries

Russian and Ukrainian officials failed to reach an agreement on gas deliveries this winter in a first round of EU-...

Britain jails man for posting Islamic State video on Facebook

A British court sentenced a 31-year-old man to two years in prison on Friday after he was convicted of encouraging...

Latvian police fine couple after monumental public sex session

A pair of tourists were fined 250 euros (263 dollars) on Friday after being caught having sex on the Freedom...

Terror suspect arrested in Rotterdam in possession of Kalashnikov

A special Dutch police unit on Friday arrested a terror suspect in Rotterdam.

OSCE meeting fails to reach agreement amid "marked differences"

A meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in Hamburg ended on Friday with...