Brussels police chief injured during anti-austerity clashes | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Brussels police chief injured during anti-austerity clashes

Police attend to an injured police officer during a trade union protest in Brussels on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the center of the capital to protest the center-right government’s social and economic policies which trade unions say cuts deep into the foundations of Belgium’s welfare state. (AP Photo/Aurore Belot)
May 24, 2016 - 9:07 AM

BRUSSELS - The Brussels police chief was injured during clashes at the end of Tuesday's major anti-austerity demonstration attended by around 50,000 people in the centre of the Belgian capital.

Police chief Pierre Vandersmissen was treated for a head injury after he fell to the ground during rock throwing by a few dozen protesters after most of the marchers had already disbanded.

The demonstration was called to protest the centre-right government's social and economic policies, which trade unions say cut deep into the foundations of Belgium's welfare state.

In all, two police officials and eight protesters were injured in the clashes, during which police fired water cannons. About a dozen people were detained. It was a repeat of previous anti-austerity protests when the violence of dozens overshadowed the march of tens of thousands.

Under the slogan "Our cup runs over" the main unions joined in the march, united in their opposition against moves to increase workers' flexibility at work, longer careers before pensions kick in and less pay under tougher conditions.

The trade unions say the centre-right free market policies of Liberal Prime Minister Charles Michel over the past two years are costing an average family about 100 euros ($112) a month, while the promise of many extra jobs remains elusive. Instead the trade unions want the government to tackle tax evasion.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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