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Portugal unions slam IMF, EU's 'poverty agenda'

Portugal unions slam IMF, EU's 'poverty agenda'
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Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Lisbon to voice their opposition to government austerity policies.

Unions organised the march in protest at spending cuts agreed in return for a seventy eight billion euro bailout.

Armenio Carlos, the leader of the Confederation fo Portuguese Workers, said: “We are here to protest against exploitation, inequality and poverty.

“That’s the agenda of the troika: the IMF, the EU and the European Central Bank.”

Portugal’s former Socialist government agreed the rescue loan in May.

The current conservative administration has vowed to hike taxes and cut welfare benefits to meet the bailout terms, much to the anger of protesters.

“I’m retired, I’ve had two strokes and I’ve got teeth missing. My wife is unemployed and earn just five hundred euros a month,” said one of the demonstrators.

The IMF predicts the Portuguese economy will shrink by 3 percent this year, with its sovereign debt rising to 116 percent of economic output, up from 107 percent last year.