Strikes over EU Austerity Measures
Protesters hit streets across Europe.
In Belgium, tens of thousands of people march through Brussels in protest of the government's austerity measures, which would cut pensions, education, and social funds.
In Greece, transport in the country's capital was halted for five hours as employees from buses, trains, and the underground staged a walkout Wednesday.
Workers have been protesting here since the government announced a series of cost-cutting measures to reduce the country's debt.
And in Spain, Prime Minister Zapatero's Socialist government faced the nation's first general strike in eight years - as transport workers gave broad support to a strike to protest harsh cuts intended to reduce Spain's budget deficit.
A prominent opposition leader blames the current economic environment in Spain on Zapatero, but the prime minister says the economic facts speak for themselves.
[Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister]:
"Spain has not lost quotas in the international market. That is the basic competitiveness data. All the rest are not real data they are opinions based on reports with little credibility."
The leader of the European Trade Union Congress says governments should listen to the protesters' calls.
[John Monks, European Trade Union Congress Leader]:
"I hope people realise that the voice of workers is saying don't go for austerity, don't do what your predecessors did in the 1930s, don't cut all of you at the same time and risk the results that they had in the 1930s which was a great depression."
The string of protests comes as a European Day of Protest was called for Wednesday by labor groups.
Trade unions said they had called rallies in 13 European capitals from Lisbon to Helsinki.