Spain, Portugal brace for more austerity protests

Spain, Portugal brace for more street protests as government austerity policies bite

Associated Press
Spain, Portugal brace for more austerity protests
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Protestors hold a banner reading "you don't represent us" during a demonstration against austerity measures announced by the Spanish government in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012. Spain's Parliament has taken on the appearance of a heavily guarded fortress with dozens of police blocking access from every possible angle, hours ahead of a protest against the conservative government's handling of the economic crisis. The demonstration, organized behind the slogan 'Occupy Congress,' is expected to draw thousands of people who call for Parliament to be dissolved and fresh elections held, claiming the government's austerity measures show the ruling Popular Party misled voters to get elected last November. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

MADRID (AP) -- Authorities in Madrid are bracing for more protests near the Spanish Parliament in the city's downtown district after demonstrations there last week brought violence and arrests.

The latest rally Saturday is expected to draw tens of thousands of people angered by government spending cuts and tax hikes. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government says the measures will continue into next year, as will the economic recession.

Spain's unemployment rate is almost 25 percent, and more than half of people under 24 are jobless.

In neighboring Portugal, where protests have been big but tame, the main trade union confederation has called people onto the streets to demonstrate against the bailed-out country's austerity drive.

Portugal is locked into a program of budget cuts in return for last year's €78 billion ($101 billion) bailout.

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