Activists splash spaghetti and tomato sauce on Danish finance ministry

Seven young activists were detained Thursday after pouring some 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of cooked spaghetti and sprinkling tomato sauce on the stairs leading up to the Finance Ministry in the Danish capital, police said.

The protest was staged against a government proposal to cut state-financed student grants, allegedly to encourage Danish students to finish their education more quickly, the activists said.

"The government's planned reduction ... forces young people to live below subsistence level," they claimed in a statement, mocking the government to set up a "youth buffet on the stairs" of the ministry.

In Denmark, higher education students get up to 4,724 kroner ( Ђ 633.50; US$810) per month, or about half the average monthly paycheck in this Scandinavian country.

The government has initiated talks with the opposition about the cuts, which are part of efforts to help sustain Denmark's extensive welfare state in the face of an aging population.

Also under the plan, which needs parliament approval, retirement age would gradually be raised from today's 65 years to 67 years by 2025. No date for the vote has been set.

Police said the seven would likely be charged with vandalism and released, reports the AP.

I.L.