Anti-Austerity Fervor Rages in Spain and Portugal
Common Dreams — Tens of thousands of Spaniards and Portuguese took to the streets in their respective countries on Saturday, showing the resilience of the anti-austerity sentiment in Europe and calling on their governments to end the destruction of budget-slashing economic policies.
The protests in Madrid was the the third large-scale protest in a week and followed directly on Friday’s announcement by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of the government’s 2013 draft budget that will cut overall spending by $51.7 billion, freezing the salaries of public workers and cutting unemployment benefits.
Al-Jazeera reports from Madrid:
Chanting that politicians must resign, the demonstrators surrounded parliament [...] facing off with riot police and denouncing the conservative government’s deep budget cuts.
Rallied by the ["Indignados"] protest movement and organised on social media, the protesters held up signs that said simply “No”, “Resign” and “Democracy” and shouted toward the legislature: “They do not represent us”.
And the Associate Press reporting from Portugal, where the government’s austerity proposals are even deeper than those in Spain, adds:
In Lisbon, retired banker Antonio Trinidade said the budget cuts Portugal is locked into in return for the nation’s $101 billion bailout are making the country’s economy the worst he has seen in his lifetime. His pension has been cut, and he said countless young Portuguese are increasingly heading abroad because they can’t make a living at home.
“The government and the troika controlling what we do because of the bailout just want to cut more and more and rob from us,” Trinidade said, referring to the creditors – the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.