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Brussels: Police disperse protesters with tear gas, water cannon (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Published time: April 04, 2014 12:08
Edited time: April 05, 2014 18:12
Demonstrators clash with riot police officers during a European trade union protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014.  (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Demonstrators clash with riot police officers during a European trade union protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Brussels police used tear gas and water cannon in clashes with protesters, as thousands gathered at a trade union rally against austerity. Violence in the area where many government offices are situated caused a lockdown at the US embassy.

Around 25,000 people, according to Brussels police spokeswoman, Ilse Van de Keere, marched against austerity and unemployment. They were faced with a heavy-handed police response.

Initially, the trade unions expected to see 40,000 demonstrators on the streets of Brussels.

Some demonstrators threw oranges and cobblestones at police. Violent clashes also took place near the US embassy.

Traffic was paralyzed in the Belgian capital, and public transport stopped well short of the protest location.

Trade unions representatives from across the EU gathered in Brussels, following a call from the European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC). This is the first “euromanifestation” in 2014, with the participants demanding “a new way for Europe.”

It has been reported that clashes happened between the police and dockers from Antwerp and Gent, who led the march and started throwing projectiles at police.

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A demonstrator is sprayed by tear gas during a European trade union protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

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An injured demonstrator lies on the ground after being hit by a stone thrown by other demonstrators during a European trade unions protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

The trade unions are demanding an economic policy that involves “no austerity, but big investment aimed at steady economic growth and quality jobs,” said the ETUC press secretary, Emanuela Bonacina.

Demonstrators are urging EU citizens to vote for candidates that “will change the order of governing the EU,” during the European elections that are set to take place on May 22-25.

The ETUC is also suggesting measures to battle austerity, such as yearly investments at 2 percent of GDP over the next 10 years to stimulate new private investment.

An injured demonstrator is helped by riot police officers after being hit by a stone thrown by other demonstrators during a European trade unions protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

A demonstrator throws garbage towards riot police officers during a European trade unions protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

Rescue workers and police evacuate a protestor who was injured during clashes at the end of a demonstration by tens of thousandspeople in the European district of Brussels to denounce the austerity measures in Europe on April 4, 2014 in Brussels. (AFP Photo)

Demonstrators clash with police at the end of a demonstration by tens of thousands people coming from some 20 European countries in the European district of Brussels to denounce the austerity measures in Europe on April 4, 2014. (AFP Photo)

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a European trade union protest against austerity measures, in central Brussels April 4, 2014. (Reuters/Francois Lenoir)

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