Belgian, Dutch dockers arrested in riots
17 January 2006, BRUSSELS — French authorities arrested primarily Belgian and Dutch nationals as riots broke out during the European dock workers strike in Strasbourg on Monday.
17 January 2006
BRUSSELS — French authorities arrested primarily Belgian and Dutch nationals as riots broke out during the European dock workers strike in Strasbourg on Monday.
At least 13 dockers were arrested and the Strasbourg public prosecution office has accused them of engaging in public violence and vandalism.
About 6,000 protesters are reported to have joined the march in Strasbourg, but police said only a few hundred turned violent. Some 2,000 Belgian and 100 Dutch dock workers joined the protest.
Strasbourg police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the dock workers who threw firecrackers, stones and metal missiles, smashing windows and causing "considerable damage" to the European Parliament building.
An estimated 12 to 15 police officers were injured in the rioting, one of whom was admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
Dock workers were protesting in Strasbourg against controversial proposals to open up port services to greater competition.
Elsewhere, strike action disrupted work at major ports from Greece to Sweden. Antwerp — where a general strike was waged — was primarily affected, with losses estimated at EUR 10 to 12 million.
In Rotterdam and Amsterdam, short work stoppages were the order of the day as workers downed tools from 11.30am to 3pm.
Unions fear job losses if port services are liberalised. The current proposal will allow private contractors or ships' crews to unload freight or to pilot ships into port.
The European Parliament is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday, but some analysts told BBC the reforms will probably be rejected, as they were three years ago.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news