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News, October 2013
Portuguese Stage Massive Anti-austerity Protests
October 20, 2013
Portuguese stage massive anti-austerity protests
LISBON, Oct. 19, 2013 (Xinhua) --
Tens of thousands of Portuguese staged massive protests on Saturday against the government's harsh austerity measures in Portugal's capital Lisbon and the second largest city of Porto in the north.
The protests came only four days after the government approved the 2014 draft budget which forecast more spending cuts to meet the budget deficit reduction target set by international creditors.
In Lisbon, the protesters rallied in rain at Alcantara Square located in the northern end of the April 25 Bridge. The protestors had planned to march across the bridge but were stopped by local authorities due to security reasons.
Raising high placards, the demonstrators, joined by trade union leaders as well as some lawmakers, chanted slogans opposing the troika comprising the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank, and the government's implementation of the austerity measures.
In Porto, about 20,000 protesters marched through the Prince Bridge across the Douro River, protesting against the troika and the government's austerity policies.
A mechanic who identified himself as Alvares said the current government only did what the troika told them to do without taking into consideration people's interests.
"What the government does is only to increase taxes, cut salaries and allowances which made people's life worse and worse," he added.
Secretary-General of CGPT or the Portuguese Workers Confederation Armenio Carlos said in his speech that his organization planned to stage more demonstrations in the coming months, while calling on the public to act and safeguard their own interests.
Under a 78-billion-euro (101-billion-U.S. dollar) bailout agreement with the troika in May 2011, Portugal has been implementing a tough austerity policy which has been blamed for a lingering recession in the country and has sparked strong discontent among the public.
Portuguese gov't to cut corporate income tax
LISBON, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) --
The Portuguese government will cut the corporate income tax from the current 25 percent to 23 percent next year, and further to 17 percent by 2016, to promote Portuguese companies' competitiveness and economic growth, Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs Paulo Nuncio said here on Monday.
At a press conference on the 2014 draft budget approved at a 17-hour marathon cabinet meeting on Sunday, Nuncio said that "the government's objective is to reduce the rate ... along the years with a view to setting it between 17 percent and 19 percent as early as 2016."
In a press release issued on Sunday while the meeting was going on, Portuguese Deputy Prime Minister Paulo Portas said cut would be made to those who received more than 2,000 euros of pensions, including a widow's pension.
The Portuguese government said in a brief statement that the 2014 draft budget and the amendment of 2013 budget have been approved to honor the country's obligation with the troika comprising the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank under a 78-billion-euro agreement clinched between the two sides in May 2011.
The Portuguese government has been implementing draconic austerity measures blamed for lingering recession and caused widespread protests across the country.
The budget is scheduled to be submitted to the Parliament for debate on Tuesday.
The government is believed to be difficult to meet its budget deficit reduction targets by 5.5 percent of its GDP by the end of this year and 4 percent next year despite the early signs of economic recovery in the bailout country.
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