Up to 100,000 people took to the streets on Wednesday in the Belgian capital Brussels, in order to protest against the austerity policies of right-wing Prime Minister Charles Michel.

In violent clashes, the police deployed a water cannon against protestors outside Brussels Nord train station.

Anti-austerity protesters battle police in Brussels

The demonstration was part of a national day of protest against austerity policies and was organised by the Belgium’s three main trade unions - the Christian union ACV, the socialist union ABVV and the liberal ACLVB . The protests crossed the country’s linguistic divide.

Belgium: Brussels hit by 100,000-strong anti-austerity demo

The unions oppose several cuts in social services as well as the raising of the retirement age. They claim the government is promoting big business at the expense of workers rights.

Marc Goblet, from the FGTB trade union explained to Euronews that ‘As it is the first anniversary of the government, we want to protest against all the measures taken against working people, while protecting the rich. It is unfair’.

“I am an adviser to those out of work. Every day I see the problems and the costs they face. Everyday things get more difficult,” said another demonstrator.

In power for a year now, Prime Minister Charles Michel has seen his austerity policies contested more times in the past. Last year, police fired tear gas in clashes with demonstrators who protested against economic reforms.

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