Mass Strikes Sweep Europe

700 flights grounded, minor scuffles break out in Spain

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 14, 2012 7:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Anti-austerity protests in Europe have usually been relatively localized affairs, confined to one country or another—until now. Labor leaders in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece all called for strikes and demonstrations today, the New York Times reports, and people in France, Belgium, and elsewhere took to the streets as well in solidarity. About 700 flights in and out of Spain were canceled thanks to the strike. Spanish police arrested 32 and reported 15 injuries, but said there had been no major disturbances.

Many shops remained open, however, and power consumption figures indicate that the strike isn't putting much of a dent in Spanish industry, the Wall Street Journal reports. Italy held a civil servants strike, though that one specifically excluded airlines, while Greece held a three-hour general strike. Belgian rail workers went on strike as well, and there were 130 demonstrations planned across France. While the European Central Bank has been upbeat about the crisis recently, the German Central Bank today said that "the risks to the German financial system are no lower in 2012 than they were in 2011," the Times reports.

A protester shouts slogans during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.
A protester shouts slogans during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Protesters shout slogans in front of an open shop as police stand guard during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.
Protesters shout slogans in front of an open shop as police stand guard during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.   (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
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