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Thousands protest Portugal austerity budget

Published on 27/11/2012

Thousands of protesters rallied outside Portugal's parliament Tuesday as lawmakers debated final approval of a biting austerity budget for 2013.

The budget of unprecedented austerity is aimed at saving 5.3 billion euros ($6.9 billion), of which 80 percent comes from higher taxes, and has sparked a series of protests.

“We have to finish with this policy before it finishes with us!” declared one banner unfurled at the rally, organised by the main union, the General Federation of Portuguese Workers.

Protesters aimed their fire on the “troika” of creditors behind Portugal’s 78-billion-euro ($101-billion) bailout: the International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank.

“We say no to the troika and its policies!” said one banner carried by activists, while others declared: “It’s robbery, it is the people who pay!” and “Salaries frozen, future mortgaged!”

The tight-fisted budget has sparked multiple street protests including one on November 14 that degenerated into clashes between baton-wielding police and stone-throwing demonstrators.