Portuguese anger over 'enormous' tax hikes

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Portuguese anger over 'enormous' tax hikes

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There has been an angry response from protesters in Portugal to government plans for sweeping tax rises next year.

Hundreds stayed on the streets in central Lisbon late into the night. At least one person was injured in clashes with police who made several arrests.

Facing a third year of recession and more hardship under the strict conditions of a 78-billion-euro bailout, critics have called the latest tax hike “a fiscal atomic bomb” destroying any prospect for growth.

One protester foretold that the government will fall and democracy will work for the people. “Democracy will be on our side,” he said, “but we have to increase the pressure to make this government fall as soon as possible.”

Earlier around two thousand people gathered outside parliament as Portugal’s finance minister delivered the country’s budget for 2013.

Vitor Gaspar’s plans include the toughest tax increases yet amounting to three months’ wages for middle-income workers.

As he handed over the budget Gaspar claimed there was no choice but to stay on the austerity path. The measures also include pension cuts and a financial transaction tax and higher property taxes.