apparently ongoing on the ministerial level on the new Belgian budget, and firemen decided to get out in the streets to protest against cuts in their insurance benefits, insufficient staffing and tougher retirement plans.
Reportedly firefighters want to keep their early retirement age of 58, arguing their arduous job does not allow them to work into their 60s.
prime minister, Didier Reynders, said caving in to the firefighters' demands would "send the wrong signal" to everyone.
In a country with 17,000 firefighters, these demands are completely against government plans to make the majority of people in Belgium work two years beyond 65 in order to afford the ever-increasing pension bill as Belgium's population ages.
Firemen from all over Belgium gathered in front of the Prime Minister's office in Brussels with fire trucks, blocking traffic on Brussels' ring road.
Burning tires in the streets, they sprayed water and foam onto the police guarding the building. At one point, police officers stood knee-deep in foam on the street.