Thousands of Portuguese stage anti-austerity protests

Lisbon, Oct 20 (IANS) Tens of thousands of people staged massive protests Saturday in Portugal's capital city Lisbon and the second largest city of Porto against the government's harsh austerity measures.

The protests came only four days after the government approved the 2014 draft budget which forecast more spending cuts to meet the budget deficit reduction target set by international creditors, Xinhua reported.

In Lisbon, the protesters rallied despite rain at Alcantara Square, located in the northern end of the April 25 Bridge. Though protesters planned to march across the bridge but they were stopped by local authorities due to security reasons.

Raising high placards, the demonstrators, joined by trade union leaders as well as some lawmakers, raised slogans opposing the troika comprising the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank, and the government's implementation of the austerity measures.

In Porto city, about 20,000 protesters marched through the Prince Bridge across the Douro river, protesting against the troika and the government's austerity policies.

Under a 78-billion-euro ($101-billion) bailout agreement with the troika in May 2011, Portugal has been implementing a tough austerity policy which has been blamed for a lingering recession in the country and has sparked strong discontent among the public.

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