Civil Servants Rally in Lisbon Against Austerity

Saturday, 12 Nov 2011 05:31 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

 LISBON - Tens of thousands of Portuguese civil servants, joined by off-duty police and retired soldiers, marched in Lisbon on Saturday against pay cuts imposed by the government's 2012 budget bill aimed at meeting tough goals of an EU/IMF bailout.

Chanting "IMF get out of here!" and "No to the stealing of our wages!", civil servants packed the wide Avenida Liberdade thoroughfare and the Restauradores Square a day after parliament approved the budget bill in its first reading.

"I'm here today against the untamed robbery by the government, by the state, against all the policies that only upset the workers, the policies that spoil the future of my son, of all the sons of Portugal," said Belmiro Carvalho, a protester who came to Lisbon from the town of Espinho.

Several thousand, mostly retired, members of the armed forces rallied a few blocks away at the finance ministry building on the Tagus river against pay freezes.

Representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are in Lisbon evaluating the country's progress in implementing the bailout plan, under which Portugal has to cut the budget deficit to 5.9 percent of GDP this year from last year's 9.8 percent.

Next year, the gap has to be slashed further to 4.5 percent of GDP, then to 3 percent in 2013.

The 2012 budget bill scraps holiday and year-end bonuses for civil servants and raises taxes on a wide range of products and services, following other pay cuts and pension freezes imposed previously.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said earlier it was impossible for the government to accept the opposition's proposals to avoid bonus cancellations next year as this would have a heavy impact on the state's strained finances.

He also said the country would have to put its finances in order itself and could not rely on the European Central Bank stepping in to pay the debts of countries that have failed to keep budget discipline.

Portugal earlier this year became the third euro zone country after Greece and Ireland to get a bailout. It is now enacting painful and unpopular austerity measures to meet the targets of its 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout.

Mass rallies are not uncommon in Portugal, but they have been much tamer than protests in Greece and other countries. Analysts say social strife is likely to keep growing but do not expect it to get violent or seriously influence the government's resolve in implementing austerity.

Saturday's rally came less than two weeks before a Nov. 24 general strike planned against austerity. Youth movements are preparing a big rally on Nov. 26 ahead of the final budget vote due on Nov. 29.

The centre-right coalition government has a solid majority in parliament and will easily pass the bill. 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

US Special Forces Tried to Save Journalist Before Beheading

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 19:30 PM

U.S. Special Forces attempted to free James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS), earlier . . .

Judge Orders Holder to Cough Up Fast, Furious Documents

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 23:03 PM

A federal judge has ordered the Justice Department to provide Congress with a list of documents that are at the center o . . .

Dick Cheney: Deal With ISIS or Face Attack Far Worse Than 9/11

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 22:51 PM

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warns that if the United States doesn't deal with the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist g . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved