In Oporto, Portugal's second largest city, riot police stood by on Saturday (10 March) as an estimated 30,000 workers demonstrated against government policies, in particular the new austerity budget of Prime Minister Carlos Mota Pinto.
LV banner across street in Oporto
CU PULL BACK speaker addressing rally in Humberto Delgado Square
GV & SV crowd applaud and chant slogans (TWO SHOTS)
LV riot police watching
GV demonstrators march through street carrying banners
SV elderly woman carrying anti-Pinto banner leading group of demonstrators carrying back flags (TWO SHOTS)
GV PAN massed demonstrators in procession
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Background: In Oporto, Portugal's second largest city, riot police stood by on Saturday (10 March) as an estimated 30,000 workers demonstrated against government policies, in particular the new austerity budget of Prime Minister Carlos Mota Pinto.
SYNOPSIS: The demonstration was called by more than forty Communist -led unions in the Oporto area, as part of a series of mass protests in major centres. Behind the demonstration lay growing concern at the high cost of living.
The workers chanted slogans denouncing the recent austerity budget. They also condemned the decision to return some collectivised farm land to private ownership in southern Portugal. The Communists have been urging the Socialists, led by the Former Prime Minister Mario Soares, to prove their opposition to the Pinto government by joining them to defeat the budget in parliament later this month. But the latest indications are that the Socialists and the Social Democrats will allow Prime Minister Pinto to survive, at least for the time being.
Although riot police were out in force, the demonstration passed off peacefully. Next weekend, the trade unions are planning to stage another in the capital, Lisbon.
Many of the demonstrators called for the resignation of Prime Minister Pinto. He leads a non-party government put into power by President Antonio Eanes after the Socialist government of Dr. Soares was dismissed in a constitution crisis last July. In recent months the Pinto government has had increasing worries about unemployment with nearly half a million out of a work force of just over three million, unemployed. This has added to the protests of the communists, who have controlled most of the country's most powerful unions since the 1974 revolution.