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


Nov 13 2012 23:40


Pickets have started in Portugal - updates on Twitter at and

More comprehensive coverage in Portuguese at


fingers malone
Nov 13 2012 23:45
Nov 14 2012 00:26
Nov 14 2012 00:17


Updates on Twitter at

Nov 14 2012 07:37

Some stuff pulled from Occupied Times:

Puerta del Sol, Madrid, around midnight last night..

Barricades in Vigo..

Police vs. pickets in Zaragoza

In Portugal, they're reporting 90% adherence to the strike by health workers and a massive drop in electricity consumption in Spain (which I think means that there are loads of people out on strike/workplaces closed)..

Nov 14 2012 08:24


A website which lists the strikes in Greece(in English). A three hour walk out has been planned for 12:00-15:00 but it's uncertain how many workers will take part and what will be affected.
A protest rally has been called by the unions for 13:00 in central Athens and the police have already ordered the metro station in Syntagma Square, in front of the Parilament, to be closed.

Nov 14 2012 09:58
A Wotsit
Nov 14 2012 10:04

In Malaga the port had a decent sized picket at the port offices this morning at about 8.30am local time- the doors of the port office which were locked and covered in posters and union flags. The entrance to the port for cars was padlocked but the entrance for lorries was open- none seemed to be arriving but I saw lots of tankers leaving and no strikers were at that entrance (though they may have been moved on by the police or army by the time I arrived). There are soldiers all over town- most of them seem to be shopping now. There are also a lot of private security guards at the train and bus stations and shopping malls. Almost all the trains are cancelled and buses are on a much reduced service. I may have missed some action and the early pickets as I had to trek into town from the outskirts and arrived later than I'd intended.

I will upload some photos later.

Nov 14 2012 10:04

600 flights cancelled so far (Simon Nixon, Wall Street journal journalist complaining on Twitter that there is no breakfast at Madrid airport, nor even anyone to make coffee!)
80% of train services not running
clashes between strikers and police, 32 arrested so far in Madrid

160 flights cancelled
Lisbon underground railway shut down
90% of train services not running

5000 strikers March in Florence

Belgium's rail network, including international lines seems to be completely shut down

Chilli Sauce
Nov 14 2012 10:41

Just saw this from these folks:

Communications Blockade – Francis Maude
Posted on November 14, 2012

Rank & file civil servants are taking part in a day of action against attacks on their terms and conditions on today (Wednesday 14 November).

As part of this action, there will be a communications blockade of Francis Maude – minister for the Cabinet Office and architect of the attacks on government workers.

We ask all who support the struggle of workers against this government’s attacks to join us in this action. The aim is to disrupt the smooth running of his office by jamming up telephone and fax lines as well as his email inbox for the day.

Westminster Office
House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 2494
Fax: 020 7219 2990

Constituency Office
Gough House, Madeira Avenue, Horsham, RH12 1RL
Tel: 01403 242000
Fax: 01403 210600

Send Free faxes via
From popfax, input number as +44 (leave out 0)

Nov 14 2012 11:36

Great blog by Dan Hancox reporting on the flying pickets which shut retail outlets across Madrid from midnight:

A Wotsit
Nov 14 2012 12:32

Just been on a march through Malaga coming from the north then heading west via the port and train station. a few CNT flags (appx 5) and a few more CGT- the majority seemed to be public sector workers with home-made banners. From what little I could gather in my very limited Spanish they are mainly further education workers, some medical workers and many students- we blocked a number of major roads en route. There was a great moment when we were on a bridge over a river and saw a different march (UGT I believe- but they only had 1 flag so not positive on that) on the next bridge along going in the opposite direction and we made a lot of noise and they came to join us and swell our ranks- to much cheering and applause. We called out a few retail and service workers en route- and shut a few stores and cafes. For a while we blocked the General Medical Centre entrance- we then made our way to the train station where there was a (majority) CCOO picket (supported by a good number of CGT and UGT members) who joined us to march to a nearby shopping mall- the entrance of which (like the train station) was blocked by riot police (carrying their helmets but not yet wearing them). We stood about and chanted for a bit then the transport workers returned to their picket, a few non-aligned anarcho-types stayed there to shout at shoppers and police and the education/ public service march carried on up the road northwards. No sign of any soldiers anymore but lots of police on motorbikes and now a helicopter. People generally seem in good spirits. I haven't seen any violence or property damage.

Nov 14 2012 13:22


Protests 6pm this evening:
Edinburgh, Royal Mile:
Glasgow, Buchanan St:

Nov 14 2012 13:43


A group of thousands of striking workers has just held thier protest in Athens. Striking workers, students and the unemployed gathered during the afternoon work stoppage. The protesters marched through central Athens to reach Syntagma Sq carrying the flags of Spain, Portugal, France and Ireland. The Parilament building on Syntagma Sq was surrounded by it's customary police guard and fences but no clashes occurred.

Nov 14 2012 13:48

Damn, that Milan shit looks alright!

I got down after the demos had finished. Talking to people, it seems that the CGIL-organised one had about 3,000 people on it; the students' one about 5,000. There was another demonstration in the north of the city, organised mostly by workers from San Raffaele Hospital, but I haven't been able to find any more info on that.

Will have a little look around now!

A Wotsit
Nov 14 2012 14:03

some photos from my day so far in Malaga posted at

I tried to delete the pics of people who looked displeased at having their photo taken- but this was a public march so hope it's OK that some of those pictured will be identifiable...? No one did anything naughty anyways.

Nov 14 2012 14:06

Another video from Milan:

And fighting between protesters and police in Turin..

In this article, it also says that protesters occupied the skyscraper of Turin headquarters of Intesa San Paolo, one of the big banks in Italy.

It also says that protesters blocked the tracks of the central station in Palermo and that there was fighting in Rome, where police fired teargas. Napoles and Pisa also saw brief occupations and one policeman sounds like he was badly hurt in Padua.

Nov 14 2012 14:14

Union demonstration in Rome. Reports saying there were 50,000 on the streets there..

And in this video from Corriere della Sera, it seems like the fascists had a demonstration today as well (from the video it looks like they were on their own though).

Edit: more stuff from Rome, this time without fascists.. ;)

Nov 14 2012 14:27

High school occupied in Milan:

More videos from Milan.. just as a quick comment, these seem a bit more heavy-going then what normally happens. Fighting is pretty common in Rome or Turin, but Milan is usually a bit more tame than this..

Nov 14 2012 14:45

Tilburg, Netherlands: small solidarity action (between 10 and 15 people, mostly Occupy-related folks). Brabants Dagblad, in Dutch but with two pics.

Nov 14 2012 14:45

Cop van breaks down in Turin, coppers have to push it down the street! :)

No TAV protesters in Piemonte blocked the A32 motorway from early in the morning until about 10am.. there are some photos here from La Repubblica.. and a video below..

Nov 14 2012 15:11

In the interests of not making this just about Italy, here's what's going on in Spain.. people saying there were 100,000 people in Seville..

More from Seville


Nov 14 2012 15:34

Back to Italy, it looks like at least 10,000 protesters marched through Bologna today..

There was also tension when one of the demonstrations marched past the building of the CISL union. CISL are one of the most/possibly the most scabby of the big unions in Italy, and weren't striking today.. as the demonstration went past their building, people threw eggs and then pushed their way in! Some great photos from La Repubblica for anyone who hates scabby unions.. smile

Nov 14 2012 15:43

Nice picture of Port workers on strike in Lisbon..

I'm off out now, but if anyone has any other updates then share!

Nov 14 2012 15:54

There's a big student demo against austerity later today in my town (midwest U.S.). I plan on being there so I'll post a report if it's anything interesting.

Chilli Sauce
Nov 14 2012 15:58

Thanks for all the Italy updates Ed.

NLSF write up on some action here in London:

[There are some worthwhile links if you go to the SF site, but I'm too lazy to hyperlink here on libcom...]

NLSF Members Out to Support Civil Service Rank-and-File

Today saw members of the North London Solidarity Federation join civil service workers, lay reps, and members of the newly formed Civil Service Rank-and-File Network (CSRF) in a two hour informational picket outside the London passport office.

Officially called as part of a series of lunchtime protests against government attacks on civil service terms and conditions, the demonstrations have been timed to coincide with the European general strike happening today in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy and a number of other southern European countries.

It should be noted that SolFed has established contact with this particular group of workers in two ways. One, SF is very close to one of the founding members of the CSRF. Indeed, the network calls for many of the same tactics advocated by SF including workplace committees, communications blockades, and independent rank-and-file action. Two, some of the same PCS members we stood alongside today have taken time from their lunch breaks to attend the Pret a Manger pickets which happen down the road and which have been supported and promoted by SF.

It seems solidarity is more than just a word to these civil service militants and North London SolFed look forward to further coordination, support, and mutual aid.

Joseph Kay
Nov 14 2012 16:15

The timing is coincidental, but MP for Hove and sponsor of the recent law criminalising squatting was reportedly attacked (variously by rocks and punches according to Twitter rumours), before the police arrived and physically bundled him into a van.

Argus report

Nov 14 2012 16:15

Just back from CNT march in Granada. We stayed separate from other marches, didn't even see the main UGT/CCOO march and couldn't see any evidence of it anywhere. CNT turnout mainly students, some local govt workers and agricultural, got rowdy towards the end when went through the city centre to bars/shops etc that have either been in conflict with the CNT before or were being told to shut because of the general strike. In Plaza Trinidad kicked off a bit, Nacionales got their gas/rubber bullets out and did a charge but nothing much more than that. Shoppers alarmed to see rowdy anarchists approaching, but Granada seems to be a very conservative town, loads of people out shopping during a general strike, seemingly oblivious to the issues. Glad to see CNT sticking to its guns, refusing to compromise on the state funding/participation in Works Councils issue and therefore marching separately from the CGT, even if the latter is bigger. It's gonna be a long hard struggle.

Nov 14 2012 19:46

Cops in Spain push a woman down a flight of stairs earlier today:

more police brutality in Italy:

and an amazing photo from Barcelona just now: