0:41AM EST November 14. 2012 - BARCELONA — Flights and trains were canceled across Europe on Wednesday as thousands of workers took to the streets to protest austerity measures aimed at reducing massive government deficits and boosting shaky economies."We all know that reforms, layoffs and cuts will continue but maybe we manage to get them cut (more slowly)," said Francisco Vallejo, 41, an administrative assistant in Madrid. "The only strike that is useless is the one we don't follow."
Unions had called for strikes across Europe to protest the trimming of government-funded salaries and pension benefits, which had risen dramatically over the years and led to significant debt problems in some countries.
The call to strike was heeded by many in Italy and Spain; but union workers in Britain, Germany and Denmark held rallies instead of walking off the job.
Transport hubs were at standstill across southern Europe and in Brussels as airports and train stations shut down. Clashes between protesters and police were reported in Spain and Italy but demonstrations remained largely peaceful. World stock markets were mixed Wednesday.
The so-called austerity measures comprise spending cuts, tax hikes and changes to labor laws to allow businesses to better adjust to shaky economies. But several governments and many workers worry that the measures may worsen economies by driving down individual incomes.
The protests Wednesday brought out people who blame the economic system as a whole.
USA TODAY - 23 minutes ago
Flights and trains were cancelled across Europe as thousands of workers took to the streets Wednesday to protest austerity measures intended ...