BRUSSELS — Tens of thousands of workers have marched through the streets of Europe, decrying the loss of jobs and benefits they fear will come with stinging austerity measures seeking to contain government debt.
Police fired shots in the air to disperse protesters at a general strike in Spain on Wednesday. Greek bus and trolley drivers walked off the job, joined by doctors who staged a 24-hour strike at state hospitals. Unions claimed a crowd of 100,000 marched on European Union headquarters in Brussels.
From Ireland to Greece, workers united around the theme that they are victims of a debt crisis caused by reckless high-spending bankers undermining Europe's cherished welfare state. They complained of higher taxes, job cuts, soaring unemployment and smaller pensions.