Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Brussels on Friday to protest against the rising cost-of-living, hitting public transport systems and disrupting this week’s European Union (EU) summit.
The Brussels police said 16,500 people had turned up at the demonstration, which was organised by trade unions representing many public sector workers demanding better pay and working conditions as inflation rises across Europe.
“Increase Wages And Pensions!,” read one banner held aloft by a protester.
Gas and electricity prices have surged in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Belgium’s headline inflation figure stood at 10.63% in November, while consumer inflation within the euro zone as a whole is at around 10%.
“You get back home to your children, you want your house to be warm. You should not be having to make calculations on using energy,” said one demonstrator.
The event passed off peacefully, but Brussels Airport said flights had to be cancelled as a result of the protest, while local police said traffic had been disrupted.