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1000s stage anti-austerity demo in Portugal

 
 
 
 
 
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Thousands of people hold a demonstration outside the Portuguese parliament in the capital Lisbon on October 31, 2012.

Thousands of people have gathered outside the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon to protest against the assembly’s approval of the government’s 2013 draft austerity budget.

The demonstration was staged on Wednesday after the parliament approved the draft bill, which proposes substantial rises in property and income taxes, AFP reported.

In the new bill, which will be adopted by a final vote on 27 November, the average rate of income tax is raised from below 10 percent to over 13 percent.

The protesters have also planned a general strike for November 14 under the slogan “Against Exploitation and Impoverishment.”

The centre-right coalition government says the new budget will help Portugal meet the conditions imposed by its creditors, including the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Union (EU), who are keeping an eye on Portugal’s implementation of spending cuts and reforms required in return for the 78-billion-euro ($102 billion) rescue package the country received in 2011.

The creditors have agreed to relax Portugal’s deficit targets for 2012 and 2013 as a reward to the country for pushing through reforms.

Battered by the global financial downturn, the Portuguese economy fell into a recession, which compelled the country to negotiate with the IMF for a bailout loan in 2011.

Spain, Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Portugal are all in recession, and all five are receiving financial assistance from European bailout funds.

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