Thousands in Europe march for refugees, against Greek austerity

Demonstrators in Berlin voicing support for migrants during a rally held on World Refugee Day last Saturday also expressed solidarity with Greece in opposing austerity measures.
Demonstrators in Berlin voicing support for migrants during a rally held on World Refugee Day last Saturday also expressed solidarity with Greece in opposing austerity measures.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

BERLIN - Thousands took to the streets in several European cities last Saturday in a show of solidarity with migrants seeking refuge in Europe and against austerity measures in debt-ridden Greece.

In Berlin, 3,700 turned out, said local police, to join in a protest held on World Refugee Day that had been called by German opposition parties.

Protesters in the German capital chanted: "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!"

Some held up Greek flags and posters bearing slogans in support of Athens, as a critical June 30 deadline for debt talks loomed.

In Paris, the police said 3,500 protesters rallied behind a banner that read: "Greece, France, Europe: Austerity kills, democracy is dying, let's resist!", while scores also expressed solidarity with migrants in Rome.

However, in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, demonstrators rallied against immigration and European Union (EU) migrant quotas. In the ensuing scuffle with the police, at least 140 people were arrested.

Some 100,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, most of them landing in Italy, Greece and Malta - which all want their EU peers to share more of the burden. At least 1,800 have drowned during the journey.

In London, tens of thousands of anti-austerity protesters massed outside Britain's Parliament to demonstrate against the newly re-elected Conservative government's plans for further public spending cuts.

Writing in the Sunday Times yesterday, British Finance Minister George Osborne said he would press ahead with hefty cuts to welfare in a Budget statement next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Thousands in Europe march for refugees, against Greek austerity'. Print Edition | Subscribe