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Portuguese soldiers protest budget cuts

A hundred Portuguese soldiers in civilian clothes rallied in Lisbon Tuesday to protest cuts to the armed forces’ 2014 budget to rein in Portugal’s debt.

“We are dead against the budget cuts blindly hitting such important sectors for the country such as defence,” Antonio Lima Coelho, the head of the National Sergeants’ Association of the Armed Forces, told AFP.

The military protesters gathered after their working hours close to the parliament building where MPs were studying the budget plans.

Most of them sought to remain anonymous as they waved the white flags of the association.

Portugal is forced to make severe budget cuts, especially among those on public pay, in order to access a 78-billion-euro ($105-billion) international loan meant to stabilise its debt-laden finances.