Thousands march in anti-austerity protests across Europe


FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - JUNE 01: Riot police haul away a protester during the main Blockupy demonstration in the financial district on June 1, 2013 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.



Thousands of anti-austerity protesters gathered in cities across Europe on Saturday to protest continuing government cuts, which they argue are making the financial situation even worse.

A group of 15,000 protesters gathered outside Portugal’s International Monetary Fund headquarters in Lisbon shouting "IMF, out of here”, reports AP.

The Portuguese government pledged to stick to a strict austerity budget of spending cuts and tax increases in exchange for 78 billion Euros of bailout money.

Portugal also pledged to cut its budget deficit to 5.5 percent of GDP this year and reduce debt to 124 percent of GDP.

High unemployment is still a major cause of unrest across Europe, particularly for young people. Portugal is struggling with 17.7 percent unemployment while Spain has a record 27.2 unemployment rate. The unemployment rate for those under 25 is nearly double that.

Spain has been in recession for most of the past four years. In Madrid, thousands of protesters marched towards the central Neptuno fountain near parliament shouting, "Government, resign," reports AP.

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In Germany, police used pepper spray and batons to break up a group of anti-austerity protesters in Frankfurt on Saturday.

It was the second day of the ‘Blockupy’ anti-capitalism protest, which started peacefully with 7,000 marchers in the German financial capitol on Friday.

Germany’s economy is not dealing with the same high levels of unemployment as other European countries.

Germans under 25 have an unemployment rate of only 8 percent, compared with about half of all Spaniards and Greeks of the same age, reports Reuters.

Many protesters blame the European Central Bank, the IMF and European political leaders for enforcing the strict austerity in exchange for EU bailout funds.