February 11, 2009 / 6:34 PM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX-Global financial crisis sparks unrest in Europe

Feb 11 (Reuters) - Here are some details of protests linked to the global financial crisis:

* BOSNIA:

— Workers of Bosnia’s only alumina producer Birac protested on Monday in Banja Luka, demanding payments and government support to offset falling metal prices. They carried signs reading “The Factory is Our Life” and “Who will Feed our Children?”

* BULGARIA:

— Bulgarian police vowed on Monday to protest until their demands for better salaries and working conditions were met.

— Farmers blocked the only Danube bridge link with Romania and rallied across Bulgaria last week demanding the government set a minimum protective price for milk and stop imports of cheap substitutes, such as powdered milk. Prosecutors and authorities said earlier this week they had launched mass checks of milk and meat products safety following the protests.

— Last month Bulgarians staged rallies to demand economic reforms in the face of the global slowdown, calling on the Socialist-led government to act or step down. One rally in Sofia turned into a riot.

* BRITAIN:

— Hundreds of workers protested outside British power stations on Wednesday over the use of foreign contractors in recession-hit Britain, where almost 2 million people are unemployed.

— The protests follow a week-long dispute at the Total-owned Lindsey oil refinery in Lincolnshire earlier this month, which resulted in Total (TOTF.PA) agreeing to hire more British workers on the project. Workers voted to end the unofficial strike on Feb. 5.

— Workers from Britain’s high street banks demonstrated outside parliament on Tuesday, saying jobs were put in jeopardy while banking executives reaped massive bonuses.

* FRANCE:

— France’s eight union federations have called for a new day of action on March 19 to protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy’s handling of the slowing economy. Sarkozy has called for talks with the unions on Feb. 19.

— Up to 2.5 million protesters took to the streets of France last month in a first day of strikes and rallies to denounce the economic crisis. Some protesters clashed with police, but no major violence was reported. The strike failed to paralyse the country and support from private sector workers appeared limited. Labour leaders hailed the action, which marked the first time France’s eight union federations had joined forces against the government since President Sarkozy took office in 2007.

— The French government rejected demands earlier this week to raise the minimum wage in the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, which has been paralysed for three weeks by a general strike over the high cost of living. Protesters in Guadeloupe, a full part of France which sends deputies to the national parliament in Paris, have blocked fuel stations, roads and supermarkets, dealing a severe blow to the tourism industry on which the island depends.

* GERMANY:

— Thousands of German public sector workers went on strike last week to press for more pay during the worst economic downturn in decades in action that affected transport and schools across the country.

* GREECE:

— Greek farmers set up roadblocks across the country in January, protesting against low prices. Most were taken down after the government pledged 500 million euros ($652 million) in aid. Blockades continued on and off at the Bulgarian border. On Feb. 3 riot police clashed for a second day with Crete farmers.

— High youth unemployment was a main driver for rioting in Greece in December, initially sparked by the police shooting of a youth in an Athens neighbourhood. The protests forced a government reshuffle.

* ICELAND:

— Prime Minister Geir Haarde resigned in January after a series of protests, some violent. The first leader in the world to fall as a direct result of the credit crunch, he was replaced by Johanna Sigurdardottir, who heads a new centre-left coalition. The collapse of the country’s banks under a weight of debt last year forced the country to take a $10 billion IMF-led rescue package.

* LATVIA:

— Latvia’s agriculture minister quit on Feb. 3 amid protests by farmers over falling incomes.

— A 10,000-strong protest in Latvia last month descended into a riot. Government steps to cut wages, as part of an austerity plan to win international aid, have angered people.

* LITHUANIA:

— Police fired teargas last month to disperse demonstrators who pelted parliament with stones in protest at government cuts in social spending. Police said 80 people were detained and 20 injured. Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius said the violence would not stop an austerity plan launched after a slide in output and revenues.

* MONTENEGRO:

— In Podgorica on Monday, aluminium workers demanded to be paid their salaries and an immediate restart of suspended production at the Kombinat Aluminijuma Podgorica (KAP), a Russian-owned plant. Metal workers from the central town of Niksic and tobacco workers from Podgorica said they would rally at Montenegro’s main government building later on Monday.

* RUSSIA:

— Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in Moscow and the port of Vladivostok on Jan 31. in a day of protests over hardships caused by the financial crisis. The next day hundreds of Moscow demonstrators called for Russia’s leaders to resign.

— Street rallies were held in almost every major city over those days. The pro-Kremlin United Russia party also drew thousands to rallies in support of government anti-crisis measures.

— About 100 protesters were arrested in Vladivostok in January at protests against hikes in second-hand car import duties. (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

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