Past month has been really rough on the EU, as protests, both violent and non-violent, have consumed some of the largest countries in the bloc.
We’ve compiled the list of all the demonstrations which have taken place in Europe during the November-December period:
The Yellow Vest demonstrations began on November 17th and have since swept their way throughout France, resulting in violent clashes with police, with more than 1,000 people being arrested nationwide. The protests are motivated by rising fuel taxes and the high cost of living. More than 125,000 people have taken part in ‘Act IV’ of the demonstrations on December 8. Protesters call for the reduction of fuel prices, the raising of the minimum wage, and the resignation of Emmanuel Macron as president.
Two rival marches clashed in London on December 9. Thousands of people have taken part in the “Brexit Betrayal” march, led by the far-right activist Tommy Robinson. The movement was opposed by anti-racist groups, which claim to have gathered some 15,000 people in counter-demonstrations. Mounted riot police and officers in riot gear were deployed to keep the rival demonstrators apart.
Nearly 5,000 Hungarians rallied in Budapest on December 8 against a proposed labor legislation dubbed “slave law.” Some of the protestors wore yellow vests, expressing solidarity with demonstrators in France over discontent with the government.
More than 400 people were detained by the Belgian police during the copycat yellow vest protests in Brussels on Saturday, December 8. This is the second violent demonstration in the capital in the past 8 days. A crowd of more than a 1,000 people faced riot police, which used tear gas and water cannons to subdue the masses. The movement demands the removal of Belgium’s center-right coalition government.
Angry protests broke out in Athens on December 6, the 10th anniversary of the police shooting of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos. Police said that around 1,700 people were protesting peacefully, until masked youths started attacking police with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Law enforcement responded with stun grenades and tear gas. More than 100 people were detained.
Thousands of Norwegians joined together all over the country to express their opposition to the suggestion, by Prime Minister Erna Solberg, to toughen abortion laws. The demonstration took place across 14 cities across the country on November 17.
• Czech Republic
On Saturday, November 17 tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Prague to demand the resignation of the Czech Republic’s billionaire prime minister Andrej Babis, who is accused of defrauding the EU by nearly €2m. The protest comes on the 29th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which ended the communist regime in former Czechoslovakia.
In light of Turin–Lyon high-speed railway construction going through, tens of thousands gathered in Turin on December 8 to protest against the project, claiming that it is a waste of public funds and is damaging to the environment. The organizers of the demonstrations claimed that the rally was attended by some 70,000 people, however these numbers haven’t been confirmed by police.
Catalan independence activists, calling themselves “Committees to Defend the Republic” blocked a highway in Tarragona for 15 hours on Saturday, December 8, preventing the flow of traffic. In Barcelona, 250 people blocked traffic on the main avenue. The Spanish government threatened to send in national police, if regional authorities couldn’t prevent such protests.
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