Geert Vanden Wijngaert/Associated Press
Protestors carry a banner which reads 'A promise is a promise, Mrs. Merkel' during a trade demonstration in Brussels Wednesday.
People across the European Union took to the streets today to protest austerity measures. NPR's Philip Reeves reports tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Brussels. Rail workers and doctors in Greece walked off the job. And in Spain the first general strike in eight years has disrupted air, rail, and bus transportation. Protests also took place in Poland, Ireland, and Latvia.
The protests coincided with a move in the European Parliament that proposes to punish member states that are running deficits to fund social programs. Many countries in the EU have run up debt to pay for pensions and other social programs, and are now being forced to cut wages, pensions, and employment.