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Portugal stages nationwide strike against gov't austerity policies


08:46, June 28, 2013

LISBON, June 27 (Xinhua) -- Portugal staged a 24-hour nationwide strike against the government's austerity policies on Thursday, fuelled by a prolonged economic recession in the bailed-out country.

The general strike, the fourth of its kind in Portugal since the government took power two years ago, was organized by Portugal's main workers' union CGTP and UGT.

Railway, metro and ferryboat transportation in the capital Lison was completely paralysed while bus services were reduced to the lowest level. Public hospitals were partially suspended and parts of schools closed.

Thousands of protesters also took to the streets, marching from Rossio Square in downtown Lisbon towards the parliament building, shouting anti-government slogans.

"The general strike and protests are to demand the resignation of the government as people have seen no hope from them," a protester said.

Under a 78-billion-euro (101 billion U.S. dollars) bailout agreement between the Portuguese government and the Troika in May 2011, the former has carried out a series of austerity and reform measures to meet the deficit reduction targets in exchange for bailout funds.

The government's actions have triggered strong reactions from the Portuguese. In recent months, demonstrations have become commonplace across the country and people from different sectors frequently took to the streets in protest against the government's austerity policies.

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