Tens of thousands join trade union protest in Brussels, some injured

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Brussels on Tuesday to protest the policies pursued by the Belgian government, with around 10 people reported injured during confrontations between police and rioters.

Police estimated that approximately 60,000 people protested in the Belgian capital as part of a national demonstration called by trade unions to protest cuts in public services and education, as well as a lack of social dialogue, the Belga news agency reported.

The protest snagged public transport in the city, but remained largely calm until the early afternoon, when rioters - some of them wearing masks - started throwing bottles, stones, eggs and firecrackers at police, Belga wrote.

"Some hooligans came to stir up shit, but we are not violent. We are just here to defend our livelihood," a prison guard and union delegate who had joined the protest was quoted as saying.

Police deployed water cannon to disperse the rioters. Approximately eight people and two police officers were injured during the confrontation, Belga wrote.

The centre-right government of Prime Minister Charles Michel has faced a number of demonstrations and strikes since coming to power in 2014, with trade unions opposing labour and social measures such as pension reforms and curbs on wage rises to offset inflation.

Last update: Tue, 24/05/2016 - 18:18

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