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Strike snarls air, rail service to Brussels

December 8, 2014

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian workers striking against government austerity plans badly snarled rail and air service Monday to and from the capital city of Brussels.

At Brussels Airport, the country’s busiest, 47 percent of flights were canceled.

Domestic and international train service ground to a halt, Belgian media reported, including Eurostar and Thalys service to and from London, Paris and other foreign destinations.

Metro, bus and tram service in Brussels also ceased for the day. In some locations, picketing workers blocked roads, slowing traffic. In central Brussels, 19 people were arrested after blocking a popular shopping street.

The 24-hour strike, which also affected the Brabant region around Brussels, was the latest in a series of union actions intended to force the government of Prime Minister Charles Michel to backtrack on a program to reform pensions, cut health and social security budgets and raise the retirement age.

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