10 dockers sentenced over Strasbourg rioting
19 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Ten arrested Belgian dock workers have been sentenced for their role in the rioting that broke out in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday.
19 January 2006
BRUSSELS — Ten arrested Belgian dock workers have been sentenced for their role in the rioting that broke out in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday.
Eight of the accused dockers were given jail terms of one to four months, while two were given suspended sentences and were returning to Antwerp on Thursday.
All of the 10 dock workers were also banned from entering France for the next 12 months.
Defence lawyers have 10 days in which to lodge an appeal against the sentences, which were handed down in an accelerated judicial procedure.
Two French port workers were also sentenced, one of whom was given a one-month suspended jail term and the other was jailed for three months. A Spanish docker was given a five-month suspended jail term.
About 6,000 European dockers descended on the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday to protest against plans to liberalise port services. Between 2,000 and 3,000 Belgian protesters were involved.
The protest erupted into violence as dockers threw beer bottles, stones and metal pipes at police who had sealed off the entrance to the European Parliament.
Police used tear gas to disperse the rioters and arrested dozens of dockers. Some 12 police officers were injured.
MEPs eventually rejected the proposal on Wednesday, but the European Commission has said the proposal may be reworked in future.
The parliament rejected a similar directive in 2003, but the European Commission stressed greater competition and transparency in EU ports would help them respond to the growth in shipping.
Unions fear job losses and safety threats if port services are liberalised, a proposal which would allow private contractors or ships' crews to unload freight or to pilot ships into port.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news