Protesters, such as pensioner Thimios Marvitsas, hope to remind them that they are the ones bearing the burden of austerity. "All these measures they are pushing us back 50, 60 years," he said.
"They are cutting our pensions in half, there is a million unemployed, more taxes. In other words our lives are just getting worse and worse."
Even in Germany there were protests, including 200 demonstrators in Berlin. CNN's Fred Pleitgen said that unions organized the protests more out of solidarity than real anger. However he added that the economy was slowing down and the eurozone crisis was taking its toll on the labor market. Unemployment is lower than in other countries but trades unions warn that austerity measures could damage the economy.
"Angela Merkel has become a lightning rod for protesters across Europe due to anger over her insistence that debt-ridden countries adopt austerity," he said. "Now the same is happening in Germany itself."
In Belgium, about 200 people protested, but no violence was reported, police said.