Belgian riot police fired tear gas and water cannon during clashes with demonstrators on Thursday night after at least 100,000 people marched through Brussels in a mass protest against the new government's austerity measures.
Demonstrators danced on overturned cars and threw paving stones and fireworks during the protest against economic reforms announced by Prime Minister Charles Michel's center-right coalition.
Riot police armed with clubs and shields charged the rowdiest groups, as protesters set trash bins on fire and made makeshift barricades.
Paramedics treated at least one protester, who suffered a broken nose.
Fellow EU member states, including Greece, Spain and Italy, have also experienced violent protests against austerity.
The protest in Brussels had been mostly peaceful, as crowds of people wearing union reds, blues and greens marched through the boulevards, holding banners, throwing firecrackers and whistling.
Workers at steel companies, the ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, the post office and in schools were planning to stage a work slowdown.
"The whole raft of government measures create a potentially explosive cocktail," Marie-Helene Ska, secretary general of the leading Belgian union, CSC, warned earlier in the newspaper Le Soir.
Belgian unions as well as socialist, green and leftist parties oppose a decision to scrap the usual automatic cost-of-living raises next year.
They also reject plans to raise the retirement age from 65 to 66 starting in 2025 and to 67 in 2030.
"I am 50 years old - 17 years of work is too much," Ralph Lauwmans, a school principal from Flemish-speaking northern Flanders, said during the protest.
The new government also intends to cut costs in the civil service, culture and scientific research, with expected savings of 11 million euros ($13.5 million).
AFP - AP
Demonstrators clash with riot police on Thursday in Brussels in the first mass protest against the new center-right government's austerity policies. John Thys / Agence France-Presse