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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Brussels burns as more than 100,000 protesters clash with police during march against EU austerity plans PHOTO

Riot police use their batons to beat back protesters after a mass demonstration against austerity measures in Brussels, Belgium 

For two hours, the demonstrators had peacefully marched down the main thoroughfares of central Brussels to protest government policies that will raise the pension age, contain wages and cut into public services.

But violence broke out at the end of the demonstration as police fired tear gas and water cannon in an effort to clear the streets. No casualties were immediately reported. 
'Metal barriers were thrown at the police, together with stones, and then the situation rapidly got worse,' said demonstrator Gilles Broussard.

'Hundreds of riot police were involved in trying to bring the situation under control - it all got very nasty.'

A new government was elected in Belgium last month and immediately pledged to raise the retirement age, cancel wage rises and cut social security benefits. This was all in line with strict guidelines from Europe, which views austerity as the key to the trading bloc's future.

Riot policemen charge past burning vehicles during the national trade union demonstration against plans to raise the pension age, slash social security benefits and cancel public sector wage rises   

Brussels burning up: Furious demonstrators burn vehicles as they clash with riot police in Brussels in the first mass protest against the new centre-right government's austerity policies   

 Conflagration: Water cannons and tear gas were used in the centre of the Belgian capital  

A protester poses with a sword in front of a burning bin during the mass demonstrations today  

 A riot police officer grabs a flare during riots: Around 100,000 Belgians marched through central Brussels  

Violent: A policeman crouches over an injured demonstrator as lines of police push back protesters   

 Protesters hurl rocks and bottles: Fighting broke out soon after the end of a largely peaceful march  

A police officer hurt in the confrontation is helped by plainclothes police as colleagues stand guard  

A police officer shoves a demonstrator with his shield after the man got caught by advancing police lines   

Provocative: Police fire water cannon at crowds of protesters at the end of a peaceful march through Brussels today  

 Masked protesters prepare to hurl rocks back at police moving in with small shields and truncheons for close-quarter fighting  

Riot police attack protesters as they try to clear the streets of Brussels after at least 100,000 workers marched through   

 Working men: Demonstrators in their work wear and faces covered taunt police during the riot earlier today  

Masked protesters stand by an overturned car in streets slick with water presumably from water cannon fired by police  

 Hundreds of protesters mill around as vehicles burn after violence broke out at the end of a mass march  

Tooling up: Protestors gather materials to use to fight back against police during the mass demonstration   

 Injuries: A riot police officer is helped by a colleague after being hurt during a confrontation 

Makeshift weapons: A demonstrator hurls a disc-shaped projectile towards police lines during the fighting  

 Arrests: Riot police officer arrest a demonstrator by carrying him bodily away from the protest 

Black smoke rises into the air from the burning vehicles which have been shoved together as barricades  

 Confrontation: Smoke from a flare fills the air as demonstrators hurl projectiles towards riot police  

One for the album: Protesters take a selfie in front of a burning police motorcycle during the demonstration

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