3 Mar 2013

Mass protests in Portugal over austerity measures

12:56 pm on 3 March 2013

Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out at rallies in Portugal in protest at the government's austerity measures.

Demonstrations took place in Lisbon and other cities on Saturday over steep tax rises introduced by the government as it tries to reduce a huge budget deficit.

Organisers said as many as 500,000 protested in the capital Lisbon, and hundreds of thousands more in other towns and cities.

Huge crowds gathered in Lisbon to demand that the government resign, the BBC reports

Many carried placards condemning the "Troika" of the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, which demanded budget cuts in return for a financial bailout.

Unemployment is at a record 17.6% and the economy is expected to contract by 2% this year.

This year's budget was Portugal's toughest in living memory, imposing tax rises that for many workers amount to a month's wages.