LISBON, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of teachers in Portugal took to the streets on Saturday in protest of education cuts as part of the government's 4.3-billion-euro spending cuts in the 2013 budget.
An estimated 40,000 teachers gathered in central Lisbon holding placards and chanting slogans such as "Troika and the IMF out of here," "With this government we have gone backwards" and "A government without reason lacks education."
They also demanded the resignation of Minister of Education Nuno Crato.
Mario Nogueira, Secretary General of the teachers' union Fenprof called for "a week of mourning in schools, between February 18 and 22" in the closing speech of the teachers' rally.
"We will mourn schools and what the government are doing to our country," said the union leader.
Also present at the rally was the former leader of Portugal's largest workers union CGTP Carvalho da Silva and its current secretary general Armenio Carlos.
Nogueira said teachers would join a general protest held by the CGTP set for Feb. 16 in all of Portugal's district capitals including the islands of Madeira and the Azores.
"The teachers protest is an example of what should be followed. The Portuguese, of course, they will fight hard this year and it is a fight that is not meant to burn down the country, but to defeat the government and its policies," Nogueira said.
The teachers' rally was delayed for hours as hundreds of buses were stranded on the A1 motorway in a tailback due to an accident with a truck carrying pigs.