Thousands of Portuguese have protested austerity measures and the caretaker government’s bailout negotiations with Brussels and the IMF during Labour Day demonstrations in Lisbon and other cities.
In the capital, several thousand people braved heavy rain on Sunday to participate in two peaceful marches organised by the country’s rival trade union confederations.
Incidents were only reported from the industrial city of Setúbal, south of Lisbon, where a small group of black-clad “anarchists” clashed with police, leaving three protesters lightly injured.
At the biggest demonstration in Lisbon, the head of the leftist CGTP union federation, Manuel Carvalho da Silva, accused the caretaker Socialist administration of burying the country in debt in order to rescue scandal-ridden banks, not to aid the poorest or the unemployed.
Many of the demonstrators sported red CGTP t-shirts and shouted slogans like: “We don’t want the IMF here”!
Carvalho da Silva called on supporters to vote against the Socialists, in power for six years, and centre-right parties that governed earlier in snap elections set for 5 June.
At the smaller UGT rally, some 2,000 protesters heard leader João Proença reject any austerity move to cut vacation and year-end subsidies or reduce the €475 monthly minimum wage.
The country’s three leftist parties with seats in parliament have refused invitations to meet with the bailout negotiating team sent by Brussels and the IMF.