Socialist Worker

Portugal: mass protests against IMF

by José Biern Boyd Perfeito in Portugal
Issue No. 2290

More than 300,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Portugal last Saturday to take part in the country’s biggest mass protest for decades.

They were demonstrating against vicious austerity measures being imposed on Portugal by the International Monetary Fund.

The country’s official unemployment figure is around 700,000. That means around one in 15 of Portugal’s population is unemployed.

We don’t want to be dragged even further into poverty.We have a weak welfare state as it is. Now the right wing government wants to cut the few benefits we have.

Many people are being fed by the church or by charity organisations. Children are relying on schools to get at least one proper meal a day.

We live in a low wage economy. Our monthly minimum wage is 485 euros while some 70 percent of the active population earns less than 600 euros a month.

Small and medium business are closing down. Many don’t have the cashflow to pay wages and expenses on time.

Meanwhile the government is busy bailing out banks and privatising state enterprises.

People carried banners declaring solidarity with Greek people. The protest was a warning that Portuguese are on the edge of revolt.

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Article information

Tue 14 Feb 2012, 17:36 GMT
Issue No. 2290
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