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Feb 12

Hundreds of thousands rally in Portugal against austerity

By Agence France-Presse

Hundreds of thousands protested in Portugal Saturday against austerity measures ahead of next week’s talks with international creditors, with unions vowing to keep up the pressure.

Officials from the so-called Troika — the European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — will next week evaluate progress on the country’s bailout programme.

Demonstrators arrived in Lisbon from across the country in the rally described as one of the country’s biggest in three decades.

Many were brandishing banners such as “The struggle continues” and “No to exploitation, no to inequality, no to impoverishment.”

The CGTP union which called the march estimated 300,000 people took part, while police would not give any figures, in line with their usual practice.

“We are convinced that it is one of the biggest demonstrations in the last 30 years,” said Armenio Carlos, general secretary of the CGTP, in a speech at the end of the protest in the landmark Praca do Comercio (Commerce Square).

He launched sharp attacks against the bailout conditions, calling them “a programme of aggression against workers and against the national interest.”

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