More than 10,000 strikers marched through Liege, Belgium, Dec. 27, to a mass rally in one of the city squares.
GV. Men march with banners through streets.
LV. Men marching with placards.
GV. PAN..Crowd massed in square.
CU. Speaker talks to crowd.
CU. Crowd listen.
TV. Crowds in square listen.
EDITORS: 8314B ALSO REFERS.
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Background: More than 10,000 strikers marched through Liege, Belgium, Dec. 27, to a mass rally in one of the city squares. Banners bore slogans of condemnation for the "Loi Unique" - cause of the present nation-wide wave of unrest. No incidents were reported from this and a simultaneous demonstration held in Brussels.
Strikes and demonstrations against the Governments planned austerity programme began Dec. 20 in Antwerp. Under this programme, a GBP72 million cut will be made in State expenditure and GBP42 million in taxes will be imposed. One reason given for these drastic steps is the severe cut in national revenue following the granting of independence to the Congo.
Belgian troops at NATO stations in West Germany began returning to Belgium Dec. 27, apparently to help maintain order. It is expected that the Government will use troops to keep food, trains and road transport moving. All over Belgium paratroops in camouflaged battledress are guarding railway stations and Government buildings.
A national disaster was averted Dec 27 when the Catholic trade unions, representing about half the country's workers reaffirmed their views that they should have nothing to do with the strikes. A statement was also issued by the Socialist trade unions, declaring their "determination to step up the fight".
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola are expected to cut short their Spanish honeymoon and return to Brussels.