Belgian judges, lawyers, clerks protest planned budget cuts

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Belgian judges, lawyers and court clerks throughout the country are protesting planned government budget cuts they say will cripple an already overtaxed judicial system.

Hundreds of magistrates and attorneys rallied at the main Brussels courthouse Tuesday morning.

Etienne Marique, a magistrate who is president of the Belgian Gaming Commission, said the protest was designed to focus official attention on problems of inadequate court staffing, the poor condition of buildings and the antiquated state of the judicial system's computers.

Marique said that "we're not in favor of striking," though he added that tactics could change in the future.

What he and the other protesters want, Marique said, is for the government to do what's needed "so a proper judiciary can serve citizens in an adequate, rapid, reasonable and organized way."