Demanding more jobs, more rights and better salaries, up to 200,000 people have marched in Lisbon in what unions say is the biggest protest of its kind the Portuguese capital has even seen.
The Socialist government was in the firing line, accused of increasing unemployment and favouring the rich at a time of crisis. “I am forced to take on extra work on the black market because I don’t earn enough to live on,” said one man. “We are worried about our jobs,” added a woman taking part in the rally. Another explained: “We are demonstrating to ask for help because we don’t know what the future will bring.” Workers from both the public and private sectors were bussed to Lisbon from across the country. Police could not confirm organisers’ estimates of how many people took part. But the strength of feeling and sense of alarm was in no doubt, with the Portuguese economy firmly stuck in recession.