Hundreds of thousands of protesters were on the streets of Lisbon and other cities in Portugal today (Saturday) to demand an end to austerity measures implemented by the government as part of an international bailout agreement, and calling for the resignation of the centre-right government.
“We are in a new dictatorship. Everything that the revolution achieved is being destroyed,” said one elderly protester in Lisbon.
Since the austerity measures have been introduced, Portugal has seen the largest tax increases in living history, and have dealt a massive blow to Portugal’s citizens.
“This government has left the people on bread and water, selling off state assets for peanuts to pay back debts that were contracted by corrupt politicians to benefit bankers. If not today, things have to change tomorrow and we need to remain in the streets for the government to fall,” film-maker , Fabio Carvalho, told Reuters.
The protests in several dozen cities around the country were organised by protest group Que Se Lixe a Troika, or Screw the Troika, a name by which lenders from the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, and the European Central Bank are referred.
Veronica Pereira, an unemployed mother who says she has no means to send her daughter to college said: “Our people have the habit of letting things happen, but I think this is changing radically now. We need to protest to change things,” she said.
Protests in Portugal have begun to rise as the economic outlook has worsened during recent weeks. The main government opposition, the Socialists, have demanded an end to the austerity measures as the country’s economy spirals backwards.
The Portuguese people are no strangers to ousting governments. In 1974 the people ended the dictatorship in power in what became known as the ‘Carnation Revolution’. The same could happen again in the not too distant future.
Perhaps other citizens within Europe will find inspiration and take action against their governments to being an end to the global control that is causing hardship to so many around the world.