Europe

Europe protests: Your views

Tens of thousands of people in Europe have been staging mass protests against public spending cuts and other government austerity measures.

The biggest protest was in Brussels, where demonstrators from more than 30 countries marched to European Union buildings.

BBC News website readers in Europe have been sharing their experiences of the demonstrations:

MODIKA BAH, BARCELONA, SPAIN

Image caption Modika Bah doesn't agree with the timing of the austerity measures

I work as a technician for a private company and will be on strike.

The protest is necessary as we are trying to defend our rights as workers.

I feel it's important that we demonstrate our anger and dissatisfaction to the authorities about the recent labour reforms. They need to be reconsidered.

The austerity measures should have been introduced two years ago, but not now that we are in this horrible situation and people have no jobs.

I will be affected especially by the increase in the retirement age.

I don't want the people taking part in the strike to go on a rampage and attack the people who made the decision to go to work.

They should exercise respect for those who are not taking part and respect all public and private properties.

MIRELA, CASTELLDEFELS, SPAIN

Image caption Mirela sent a picture of a spiked tyre

I work as a freelance marketing consultant. I decided to go to work today because I don't see how sitting around doing nothing will help Spain overcome the economic difficulties the country is facing at the moment.

The strikers have been using what I consider illegal methods, like putting spikes on tyres to prevent other people from doing their job.

Strikers were also blocking the entrances to office buildings and trying to intimidate workers. The rubbish trucks weren't allowed to leave their hubs and only a limited number were allowed to go out - the ones necessary for collecting hospital rubbish and the dead animals from the streets. The same happened with the buses.

I believe the best way forward is for everybody to work as hard as possible and focus on how to improve their personal performance rather than going on strike.

The government wants to allow employers to fire anyone who misses work more than 20% of the time in two months! Right now this country needs commitment, hard work and a lot of sacrifice. Otherwise we're going back to the Stone Age - and with the examples seen today the Stone Age doesn't seem very far away.

The problem is the politicians are mostly focusing on their own parties' best interests, so there's really not much anybody can do about it. Whoever will come next will do exactly the same.

JOANNE O'NEILL, BARCELONA, SPAIN

I work as a European team leader for a technology company and won't be striking.

Unfortunately, these are times when we have to be grateful to have a job.

I agree with some of the cuts because the country needs money from somewhere to regain financial stability, but I do not agree with all cuts.

Unlike in the UK, family financial support is a true minimum in Spain - they give 2,500 euros (£2,140) to all new mothers and little or no support thereafter. It's a shame that they have proposed to cut it.

I think they're pushing the measures too far and surely there must be a better balance.

The government should cut their own expenses, spend more money on public transport and less on their private cars, increases taxes on luxury items like alcohol and cigarettes and, if need be, increase employment taxes - but only at a fair level.

RALF GOETZ, PROTESTER IN BRUSSELS

Image caption Ralf Goetz will be taking part in the protests in Brussels

I will be protesting in Brussels in representation of the workers from the European metal industry.

We are marching against the relaunch of budget cuts. We want to discuss an alternative way to deal with the outcome of the crisis and avoid the double-dip of the economy and the pressure on jobs.

The idea is to send a message to European finance ministers that we need a financial transaction tax now to support European manufacturing workers through investment in clean technology.

We also propose the taxation of very high incomes.

We expect a large number of people today, and we have support all through Europe from other countries like Spain, where there is a general strike.

OTHER COMMENTS

They expect Brussels to be in chaos today. Buses, trains, car traffic, everything will be affected. So I, and many other people who have to work in the centre of Brussels, have decided to work from home today. At least then we're sure we can get some work done and do not have to worry how we're going to get home in the evening. Tina Vander Molen, Leuven, Belgium

Whether you want it or not, the austerity measures are necessary in this situation. The crisis has happened, we can't help it. In Hungary, austerity measures were taken two years ago. The situation was really bad, but now the economy is starting to grow, the unemployment rate is decreasing and there is more investment, mainly in car manufacturing. I think the situation is getting better, and now we are in better position than many central European countries. Mark Kelemen, Budapest

I fully support the protest. It is our hard-earned right to protest. The financial crisis was caused by greed and profiteering, two essential elements of the modern consumerist capitalist society. The current economic model is the problem, no matter how big the bailout, the money is simply poured into a system that is fundamentally flawed. Small businesses are and will be forced to close while big businesses deemed vital for the global economy will continue to be bailed out. This is unjust. Austerity measures may reset the clock until the next crisis but the only real solution is a revolution to the way in which we live, to the legal system and to the concept of never ending conspicuous consumption. James, Poole, UK

I share the view of the workers that those who caused the crisis should be paying for it. Instead, we see the IMF marching in and imposing additional austerity measures to countries like Greece, while taking the opportunity to force the liberalisation of some of the remaining public sectors. This will only cause for the gap between the rich and the poor to further increase. Cryptos, The Hague, Netherlands

What is up with people? Most of the Western world had it too good for too long. There comes a time where we all have to pay our debts for our lavish excesses. Leonard, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Why does a crisis that was caused by others have to be paid by workers and middle class? We are have been in crisis for the last three years, but the gap between the rich and the poor increases. The only solution to overcome the crisis is a new deal of resources. How is it possible for the economy to grow if people are still losing their jobs? Who will be spending money? Luigi Farano, Milan, Italy

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