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Violence erupts at austerity demonstrations across Europe

Fabio Ferrari / Lapresse via AP

A police officer fires tear gas as police face demonstrators during a protest against Italian Government austerity measures in Turin, Italy, on Nov. 14. Workers across the European Union sought to present a united front against rampant unemployment and government spending cuts Wednesday with a string of strikes and demonstrations across the region. Protesters clashed with police in various demonstrations in Rome, Milan, Turin, Padua and Brescia.

Matt Dunham / AP

Police officers try to push protesters back onto the pavement after they blocked traffic on Oxford Street, London, while taking part in a picket and demonstration they said was over dismissals of 28 workers employed by contractors on the Crossrail transport project, for being trade union members, on Nov. 14. Crossrail, due to start running services in 2018, is a new train line that will include twin-bore 13 mile tunnels under central London and link 37 stations including transport hubs such as Heathrow airport with business districts including the City and Canary Wharf.

Daniel Ochoa De Olza / AP

Riot police apprehend a protestor during a general strike in Madrid, Spain, Nov. 14. Spain's General Workers' Union said the nationwide stoppage, the second this year, was being observed by nearly all workers in the automobile, energy, shipbuilding and constructions industries.

By NBC News staff and wire reports

Pockets of violence broke out as public demonstrations and strikes over rising unemployment and austerity measures took place in many parts of Europe Wednesday.

Spanish and Portuguese workers staged a coordinated general strike across the Iberian Peninsula, shutting transport, grounding flights and closing schools to protest against spending cuts and tax hikes.

International rail services were disrupted by strikes in Belgium and workers in Greece, Italy and France planned work stoppages or demonstrations as part of a "European Day of Action and Solidarity.” Read the full story.

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A protester holds a stone during clashes with riot police at a students' demonstration against austerity measures in downtown Rome on Nov. 14.

Alessandro Di Marco / EPA

Protesters try to burn the flag of the European Union after storming the regional Palace of the Province in Turin, on Nov. 14.

David Ramos / Getty Images

Demonstrators set up a barricade of burning tires at the main entrance of Mercabarna, the biggest wholesale market in the city, at the beginning of a 24-hour strike on Nov. 14 in Barcelona, Spain. Spain's trade unions have called for today a general strike, the second of Mariano Rajoy's presidency. Protestors from social movements are expected to join striking public sector workers to demonstrate against austerity cuts, labour reforms and an unemployment rate of 25 percent.

Philippe Huguen / AFP - Getty Images

Thousands of people from France and Belgium demonstrate during an anti-austerity protest in Lille on Nov. 14. Trade unions lead nationwide strikes and anti-austerity protests across Europe today.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

Empty tracks at the Brussels South train station on Nov. 14. A 24-hour rail stoppage and scattered strikes through the south of the nation disrupted daily life. Both the Thalys and Eurostar high-speed rail services that connect Brussels with London and Paris were severely disrupted.