European cities hit by anti-austerity protests
Tens of thousands of people from around Europe have marched across Brussels in a protest against spending cuts by some EU governments.
Spain has held a general strike, with protesters in Barcelona clashing with police and torching a police car.
Other protests against austerity measures have been held in Greece, Italy, the Irish Republic and Latvia.
Trade unions say EU workers may become the biggest victims of a financial crisis set off by bankers and traders
Many governments across the 27-member bloc have imposed punishing cuts in wages, pensions and employment to deal with spiralling debts.
On Wednesday night, Portugal’s minority government announced proposals to cut civil servants’ pay and state spending while raising taxes in an attempt to lower the country’s debt levels.
In Greece and the Irish Republic, unemployment figures are at their highest level in 10 years, while Spain’s unemployment has doubled in just three years.
In Britain the government is planning to slash spending by up to 25% in some areas, while France has seen angry protests against a planned increase in the minimum retirement age.
Workers in many EU countries are frustrated that they are paying for the mistakes of the banks and the financial sector, the BBC’s Christian Fraser in Brussels reports.