A lack of jobs and the bite of austerity measures prompted thousands of people to take to the streets of Lisbon on Thursday.
The dire state of Portugal’s finances has forced it to seek a multi-billion euro bailout from the EU and IMF. But a painful period of belt-tightening is being demanded in exchange.
“We are protesting primarily against the IMF, against a lack of job security,” said Joaquim Costa from Tramagal. “We need to promote our national products. I think we can do that without resorting to the IMF.”
Fellow demonstrator Pedro Silva from Santarem said several generations of people were protesting at measures that the IMF, EU and European Central Bank want to impose on the Portuguese people with the support of Portugal’s three main political parties.
Ahead of a snap general election, the three parties have committed themselves to the bailout terms approved by euro zone finance ministers this week.
The deal envisages more spending cuts and some tax rises, among other austerity measures. The Bank of Portugal has warned that the economic and social impact will be “substantial”.