About 100,000 Dutch trade union supporters marched through central Amsterdam on Saturday, protesting against high unemployment and government welfare cuts in one of the largest union protests since World War II.
Carrying banners declaring: “It Can Be Different, Better,” the protesters accused the right-center government of being lax in efforts to reduce unemployment and failing to preserve the disposable income of the country’s poor.
The protest was organized by the Netherlands’ largest trade union federation, FNV, which offered supporters free train tickets to Amsterdam to take part.
A crowd of about 20,000 gathered early in the day at the central Dam Square, but their numbers swelled to 100,000, according to police.
The large size of the protest underscored the frustration of some Dutch voters after six years of government austerity budgets that have chipped away at once- generous social benefits without substantially slashing unemployment, now at 14%.