A general strike and a credit rating downgrade dealt a double blow to Portugal, as the country struggles to overcome its debt problems.
Transportation and other public services ground to a virtual halt. Across the nation workers brought their anger over severe austerity measures onto the streets.
The government is pushing through tough reforms and cutbacks as part of a 78-billion-euro bailout deal.
One man in Lisbon said: “I think people have to go on strike but they are not going to get anything because the government we have does not pay attention to us. If we go on strike or not, we are not going to get anything.”
Health and welfare are in the frontline of public services suffering cuts that are set to get deeper next year.
One woman healthcare worker said: “They are trying to destroy the national health service and the salaries haven’t gone up since 2004.”
Several tax offices were targeted in a rare display of violence by protesters. That, and the downgrade by Fitch of Portugals credit rating to junk status are worrying developments for the government.