Europe on strike against austerity: live updates

Europe on strike against austerity: live updates

The struggle against austerity steps up a notch as on November 14 an international general strike takes place across several European countries, with demonstrations and solidarity actions across the world. Please post live reports from the area in the comments below.

There will be official general strikes supported by most major trade unions in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. Rail workers in Belgium will join the strike, as will some unions in Cyprus and Malta. Solidarity demonstrations are planned across the rest of Europe, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey and across Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The European trade union federation ETUC has an action map of the biggest events planned:

Pictured above, French workers fired the first salvo in advance of the general strike as striking firefighters block tramlines in Le Mans.

In the comments below, please post personal reports if you were involved in any of the strikes solidarity actions, or if not please post updates from social media or new sources as the day progresses so we can build a good cross-section of the events.

Posted By

Nov 13 2012 22:43


Attached files


Chilli Sauce
Nov 14 2012 20:08

Holy Fuck! All those pictures are amazing (although the first two in an obviously far different way than the third.)

Nov 14 2012 21:13

Now obligatory shot of people kissing in front of riot police line, from Italy:

Nov 14 2012 21:27

The third demonstration that took place in Milan today, of workers from San Raffaele Hospital.. check out USI-AIT front and centre of the video! :)

Will try and find out how that demo went as its part of a live dispute, so arguably the most important of the day..

Nov 14 2012 22:56

Just to say, there are some amazing videos on the Occupied Times updates. Here's some picks:


In a town of about 300,000 it's estimated that between 125,000 (by police) and 150,000 (by unions) turned out for the demo.


Nov 14 2012 23:01

Some pics as well..



Nov 14 2012 23:03

Solfed's write-up on Spain..

Solfed wrote:
As workers are on general strike in Italy, Greece, Portugal and Spain today, we will have updates throughout the day. Here are ongoing strike reports from Spain.

[update 14:00] Barcelona: a large roving picket, composed of pensioners, is blocking roads!

Violent police charges reported now in Valencia.

Caixa banks, responsible for the eviction of Emaya Egana who threw herself to her death just before the eviction, are covered in red paint all over Spain today.

Reports of evictions stopped today by force of numbers blockading the doorways.

Castro Urdiales, a small town, reports CNT demonstration of 400 people.

No trucks went in at MercaCordoba due to mass pickets.

Ferrol: number of workers on strike exceeds all previous general strikes. City completely shut down, nothing open anywhere in the centre of town, demonstration is too big to fit in the central square.

Gijon: more than 30,000 people in the streets! Most shops closed, neighbours show a lot of support to pickets.

Guadalajara: buses could not leave bus depot until about 7am, with escort of 15 police vehicles.

Hundreds of pickets blocking Gran Via in Madrid, police attack pickets with batons, ride motorbikes into the crowd.

[scroll down to bottom of page for older updates]

Barcelona 7:30 am: Barricades outside MercaBarna (fruit and veg wholesale market) nothing going in. In the airport police have expelled 50 people who were sitting down in the check in area. 200 students have occupied the faculty of Biology. No buses leaving from the Triangle depot. Just before 7am N-11 motorway blocked in both directions with tyres. C-17 motorway blocked. Train lines also blocked.

A Coruña: total shutdown in Seat, Ford, Opal, and Nissan factories and 80% in Volkswagen.

Zaragoza: bicipicket, bike parades blocking roads at rush hour.

Andalucia: 80% of the fishing fleet is on strike.

Salamanca midnight: around 100 roving pickets go round closing down the bars.

Santander 2am: more than 90% of the workers on the nightshift in in industry in Cantabria are on strike. The strike is total among the street cleaners.

Asturias: Night shift in industry almost totally closed down. Industrial estates closed by pickets, motorways in mining region blocked, HQ of Cajastur bank closed by CSI pickets, Mercadona, which forbids the workers to strike, picketed now, Corte Ingles closed in Oviedo.(Corte Ingles forbids the workers to strike) Noreña and El Berron all shops and bars closed except one supermarket. Police have entered with violence into a union building in Gijon and have injured people.

Madrid up to 7:30 am: Major roads blocked in the early hours, very combative atmosphere, roving pickets in the working class neighbourhoods from midnight, 200 students occupying faculty of Medicine. Teatro National occupied by actors at midnight. Telemadrid off the air. 2:30 am: trucks are entering MercaMadrid due to more than 100 police, some on horseback, pushing pickets aside, pickets are not able to speak to truck drivers. Neighbourhood assemblies out blocking major roads at 7am. Police cars escorting the distribution of newspapers. Mounted police charge pickets at Fuencarral bus depot, arrests made. 200 students block roads near university. A lot of police aggression and 15 arrests in Madrid so far.

[Update11:30am ] Reports say the strike is stronger than the last one, and is especially strong in industry and transport, and that so far there are reported 62 arrests.

[Update 13:30] Picket injured after being hit by a vehicle in Tarregona and picket with broken arm after police charge in Malaga. Photos from different regions of streetlights turned on in the day by PP councils to use more electricity (one way the strike is measured is by the drop in electricity consumption, to measure drop in industrial activity.)

Malaga: roving picket of more than 200 people managed to close nearly all the bars in the early hours. Blockade of Mercadona. An eviction was stopped by mass picket outside the house. Around 200 people blocked the ringroad with a barricade.

Nov 14 2012 23:22

Right, so leaving the students rucking with the cops to one side, a quick round-up of the strikes in Milan (from the bits and bobs I've been able to pick up so far):

A lot of people were out for the 4-hour CGIL strike; teachers, airport workers, university staff, rail and some local public transport workers. To be honest though, even if transport felt a bit slower around the city this afternoon, there wasn't the mad rush you usually get when the local transport workers strike. Trains might have been different though.

San Raffaele workers also went on strike today. The CGIL staff followed the 4-hour one; not sure what USI-AIT and the other base unions there did.

As for the base unions generally, from what I could pick up, COBAS struck as did as did Unicobas. USB were definitely at the San Raff demo, I imagine they struck at the hospital as well. CUB didn't (though some were at the San Raffaele demo). I think CUB and COBAS are the two biggest of the base unions, and there's loads of inter-base union rivalry that apparently fucks up a lot of stuff.

Nov 14 2012 23:25

Excellent report on Bologna from the Struggles in Italy blog..
14N European strike: Bologna

Nov 14 2012 23:55


Outside parliament

Nov 14 2012 23:41

Excellent photo gallery here. Well worth checking out..

Also, this article was quite an interesting, if business-eye-view, Europe-wide round-up..

Hundreds of flights were cancelled, schools were shut, factories were at a standstill and trains barely ran in Spain and Portugal where unions held their first joint general strike. Stoppages in Belgium interrupted international rail services.

Workers also protested in Greece and France against austerity policies that have taken a heavy economic toll and aggravated mass unemployment.

Nov 15 2012 00:09

Madrid this evening:

Nov 15 2012 01:16

Police violence in Tarragona


More photos from Spain


The day's updates in Spanish on kaoenlared and La Haine

Nov 15 2012 20:01

Some solidarity marches in Germany. Mostly limited to a couple of hundred protestors from alternative unions, leftist groups and a few members of the mayor trade unions. There were a couple of marches with FAU syndicates presence, such as in Cologne, Berlin, Frankfurt, Münster, Düsseldorf. More coverage in German language at the FAU website.

Nov 15 2012 12:29

Here we have no left to speak of, but there was some small solidarity from the mainstream union and also from ZSP.

Just one thing I'd like to point out, because yesterday I was doing the coverage in Poland, where there was essentially a media blackout and thus our anarchist portal was it as far as news. I especially liked the coverage they gave on the CNT page because you can see that they organized lots of decentralized actions and a lot of them related to ongoing work conflicts. (Like the protest in the hospital in Milan as well.) So for me this showed a different face of the labour movement: not some mass crowd of people following behind some bureaucrat union leaders, or even making their presence in such a crowd, but actually going to workplaces in conflict with some smaller group and directly shutting them down for example. From my perspective I found those types of actions to be really encouraging and to have some more direct effect on people, since in some cases people even went home or joined the strike because of them.

A Wotsit
Nov 15 2012 12:41

There was a trade union organised A-B march in Malaga last night- it must have been quite large as I never saw the front and it took ages for the back of the march to get moving after the front set off. There was a good mix of people and a good atmosphere as we gathered with a CGT soundsystem playing revolutionary and class struggle songs.

I was bringing up the rear marching with the CNT local- at a guess there were 30-40+ of them and their supporters (not sure if all of those behind the CNT banner were members or not). They had a good banner which seemed to be getting a good response, and lots of photos from other marchers which roughly translated as "Now is the time to fight, without subsidies, without representatives"- they said that many union members were getting fed up with their reps and bureaucrats and they were confident their message would resonate. They also wanted to distinguish themselves from the CGT who apparently get much more media coverage and many of CGT's newer members aren't aware that CNT has a very different approach (ie not taking government money or using union reps). The CGT group were larger and clearly better funded (they had a van and a soundsystem, plastic flags and tabard thingys while CNT had fewer flags- but much nicer looking ones).

The CNT group were a very vocal bunch- making speeches through the megaphone- which I couldn't really follow -and some good chants which I got the gist of (e.g. "the system is the problem, revolution is the solution"... "a-a-a-anti-capitalist"...better in Spanish- other's I've forgotten). They also sang 'a las barricadas'. A very diverse group in terms of ages and gender and very friendly and welcoming.

I never made it to the end of the march as I went looking for a toilet and got lost- decided to head back to sleep as I'd been walking round town all day carrying loads of luggage and was totally knackered- it wasn't looking likely that anything was going to kick off once we got to the end of the route anyways. The police kept their distance and didn't seem likely to interfere and no one was there with the intention of causing damage to property (which I think was a good thing as the other marchers were probably more inclined to be supportive of logical argument than propaganda of the deed).

Thanks to all the CNT Malaga crew who took time to speak to me about their struggles, and ask questions about what SolFed and the other unions get up to in the UK.

There were things going on in Malaga when the strike started that I missed- informal pickets and so on.

I gave out the link to libcom so hopefully we'll hear from some of the CNT Malaga group in future.

A Wotsit
Nov 15 2012 12:52

Just seen that CNT Malaga have posted their report of the events earlier in the day (before the big March of the evening)- sorry I can't translate.

Crónica de la primera parte de la jornada de huelga 14-N en Málaga

Desde las 11 de la noche, el local de cnt Málaga está abierto para orientar la acción de los piquetes y ofrecer un sitio donde descansar a todes aquelles que han querido hacerlo. A las 12 los primeros piquetes han salido hacia el centro, cerrando todos los bares. En uno de los pubs hay problemas con los dueños del local, acude la policía y realizan una detención. A las 5 ha salido otro grupo a reunirse con compañeres de otros colectivos, dirigiéndose hacia la Estación de Autobuses, que ya estaba cercada por la policía, y la estación de Renfe Vialia. En el trayecto se han ido cerrando los pocos locales que habían abierto, sin mayores incidentes. Sólo destacar el hecho de que cuatro policías locales han decidido desayunar justo en el momento que echaba el cierre un bar a solicitud del piquete. Cercados por la policía nacional, el piquete ha permanecido en la puerta del local hasta que los cuatro policías locales han terminado su consumición, que dicho sea de paso, no han abonado.

Una vez en Vialia, el gerente del centro comercial ha hecho uso de un nutrido grupo de policía nacional para expulsar al piquete del lugar; a pesar de ser suelo privado y de contar con seguridad privada también, la policía nacional se pone al servicio de la empresa privada para impedir la labor de los piquetes. A las 10 de la mañana, un nuevo grupo ha salido en apoyo de la paralización de un desahucio en el barrio de la Palmilla. El desahucio no se ha producido, en este su segundo intento: un administrador ha comunicado la paralización a les allí reunidos. Se ha continuado entonces cortando la Avda. Valle Inclán (circunvalación) en los 2 sentidos con una barricada. La gente ha continuado en manifestación espontánea desde allí hasta el centro, y en su recorrido han conseguido presionar pare cerrar un Mercadona, al que se ha entrado durante casi una hora.. Antes de ésto habían accedido al Centro Comercial Rosaleda.

También a las 10 salía otro grupo hacia la Delegación de Educación, respondiendo a la convocatoria de la Marea Verde de Málaga, en protesta por los recortes en la escuela pública. Sin embargo, la gran cantidad de personas que se han dado cita ha hecho posible una manifestación improvisada que ha circulado por Avda de Andalucia, cortando varias de las principales vías de la capital malagueña. Entre 500 y 700 personas han cruzado el río Guadalmedina hasta la Alameda de Colón. A este grupo se ha unido un piquete informativo, por lo que la acción de la manifestación ha sido doble, consiguiendo que los pocos locales que se encontraban abiertos a su paso cerraran. Sin embargo, tanto Vialia como el Centro Comercial Larios estaban absolutamente tomados por los antidisturbios, haciendo imposible entrar a informar en los mismos. A las 14 horas tiene lugar una performance llamada “Subasta de esclavxs”, a cargo de integrantes de este sindicato.

CNT-AIT Málaga

Nov 15 2012 13:08
Nov 15 2012 15:19

As for Spain, we've probably lived the biggests explicitly anticapitalist marches ever. If in the other general strike (29th march) the total number of people of the 80-odd towns in anticapitalist marches were between 150 - 200,000 people, this time the range has been of 200 to 250,000 (or even 300,000).

I'm not counting CCOO-UGT marches that, for instance in Madrid, took around 800,000 people to the streets, half a million in Andalusia, half a million in Galicia, half a million in Barcelona, 300,000 in Valencia, 100,000 in Alicante, etc... The official syndicalism have managed to gather around 3 million people in their demos. They tend to exaggerate the numbers a lot, but it's true that the turn out has been huge.

However, CNT + CGT + communist unions + neighborhood assemblies + social movements + occupiers (indignados of the 15M) took around 60,000 people in Madrid streets. In Barcelona the figure is between 50,000 and 80,000 (organisers tend to exaggerate the numbers; but CCOO and UGT exaggerate even more). In Gijón, 20,000, in Tarragona 25,000, in Zaragoza 25,000, 20,000 in Valladolid, in Vigo 10,000, in Granada 10,000 and so forth. Those people went to anticapitalist (also called critic, alternative) demos or blocs.

Here there is the count of CGT in Catalonia. They might be exaggerating in Barcelona, but the figures in the rest of the catalan towns seems to be realistic.

CNT numbers are also surprising:

For instance cnt alone: Salamanca, 7000; Cartagena, 3000; 2000 in Valencia...

We are still in moving in a rate of 1/10 of the force of the bureaucratic unions, but the growth is impressing.

Nov 15 2012 15:54

CNT update pickets around the state. The general trend: fairly quiet day in many cities and fulfilling the goal of stopping the activity in the industrial areas and major markets. Widespread impact of the pickets also in the city centers. Massive demonstrations followed in the afternoon. Anti-repressive alert in Logroño and Granada!

Translation of CNT web coverage: CNT, Cobertura informativa: Huelga General 14N

Nov 15 2012 17:59

General strike in Lisbon:

Massive participation. Many thousands at the demonstrations.

Police charge demonstrators at the Parliament originating riots.

Dozens detained (some talk of 120). Many more injured.

Nov 15 2012 18:44

USI-AIT block on the health workers demo in Milan..

Edit: video of the health workers' demo..

The Guardian: Photos from Spain and Portugal

Nov 15 2012 23:18

Thanks very much for the reports everyone, especially the first-hand ones!

Nov 16 2012 11:57

Sheffield - Civil Service Rank & File Network picket - more photos from the pickets here.

14N really deserves its own photo gallery but for now Demotix has photos from across Europe including London, Paris, Padua etc.

Nov 16 2012 12:26
Nov 28 2012 11:08

A video worth watching from the Portugal thread

Malaquias wrote:

New video on the last general strike and the radicalization of anti-austerity struggles in Portugal: