Firemen strip to fight funding cuts

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It may sound like an April Fool's joke but firemen demonstrated against impending cuts by stripping down to their underwear on Dam Square in Amsterdam on Friday.

A dozen fire engines sounded their sirens on the square, while the fire brigade bared almost all in protest against the city council's plans to cut 3.5 million euros.

The firemen say they have seen confidential plans to close a fire station in South East Amsterdam, to get rid of two ladder trucks and to replace a number of professional firemen with volunteers. The demonstators say this will make them less well prepared for emergencies. According to Amsterdam television news station AT5, the cuts may have already claimed their first victim in the capital a couple of weeks ago.

The half-dressed firemen distributed smoke alarms and flyers warning the public that the plans could mean delays in emergency response times and possibly more casualties as a result.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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