LISBON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of workers from all walks of life in Portugal gathered Saturday in downtown of capital Lisbon in a fresh protest against the government's austerity measures aimed at winning international lenders bailout for the country's debt crisis.
In the Commercial Square located on the banks of the Tagus River the protesters raised banners and shouting slogans to vent their anger against government's austerity measures announced by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho on Sept. 7 which ignited widespread protests across the country.
The protest, the third largest one in the month, was organized by CGTP (General Federation of the Portuguese Workers). The CGTP General Secretary Armenio Carlos said in a speech that they would not accept cut of salaries and pensions in any form and a date for a general strike would be set next week.
Facing huge protests in the country Passos Coelho said on Sept. 24 that his government was preparing for personal income tax hike to replace the most disputed social security contribution increase announced by him two weeks before.
The government had planned that the security contribution from both public and private sector employees would be increased from the current 11 percent to 18 percent and company would contribute less than employees to improve unemployment.
The government agreed to replace the social security contribution with an alternative solution after a marathon eight-hour meeting of Council of State which ended in early hours on Sept. 22 while a protest was going on in front of the presidential palace.
Portugal agreed last year to a 78-billion-euro (100 billion U.S. dollars) bailout plan set by the European Union, the European Central Bank and the IMF, and the country must reduce its budget deficit to 5 percent instead of the previous 4.5 percent of its gross domestic product this year. The country is struggling painfully to meet the target.