Sunday Sep 16, 201203:01 AM GMT
Tens of thousands turn up in Portugal's anti-austerity demos
The Portuguese protest against the government’s new austerity measures outside the parliament building in Lisbon on September 15, 2012.
The Portuguese protest against the government’s new austerity measures outside the parliament building in Lisbon on September 15, 2012.
Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:0AM
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Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets across Portugal to protest against the government’s introduction of new austerity measures.


Nearly 50,000 people staged a mass rally in Lisbon on Saturday. They clashed with police in front of the parliament, but no one was injured in the incident.

A similar number turned up in the second-largest city of Porto and several thousands in around 30 other Portuguese cities.

The protests were called by university students and artists on Facebook, but were also backed by far-left parties and the country’s biggest union CGTP, which has also called for a large rally at the end of the month.

"Stop social terrorism," and "Soon the State will steal from the dead," read banners carried by the demonstrators who were protesting the government’s announcement of fresh austerity measures a week ago.

"Let the troika go to the devil," said another slogan in reference to the country's international creditors -- the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

The three are monitoring Portugal's implementation of spending cuts and reforms required in return for the 78-billion-euro ($102 billion) bailout package the country received in 2011.

Tax hikes and cuts have contributed to a record unemployment rate of over 15 percent in the EU member state.

The international creditors have agreed to relax Portugal's deficit targets for 2012 and 2013, rewarding the Portuguese for pushing through reforms.

MRS/MA
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