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The streets of Portugal’s capital Lisbon were the venue for the largest of a series of anti-austerity demonstrations staged in 24 of the country’s cities.

Thousands of protesters rallied with placards showing their anger at measures implemented as a condition of the country’s 78 billion euro bailout.

The demonstration was organised by Portugal’s largest trade union federation which announced plans for more protests through until the end of March.

“We have no government, we are being robbed so I’m here to demonstrate my discontent because it’s enough; this can’t go on,” commented a teacher.

Manuel Mendes, a pensioner who was protesting said: “What’s at stake here is not only the situation we are in but also democracy, so I’m here to fight against this government and this policy”.

Many of the marchers blamed the government’s policies for the country’s unemployment rate which has risen to a record 16.9 percent.

Portugal’s economy declined last year by 3.2% more than was predicted.

The troika – the ECB, IMF and EU – is expected to look again at Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s economic reforms at the end of this month.

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