Portuguese teachers protest against education cuts

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January 27, 2013 8:00 AM EST

Thousands of Portuguese teachers marched through Lisbon on Saturday to protest against cuts in education imposed as part of the government's austerity programme.

Teachers union Fenprof estimated 30,000 teachers marched through Lisbon city centre, demanding the resignation of the education minister and protesting against pay cuts and what they called a deterioration in working conditions.

"I am here to protect the public school, and, above all, I am here to defend the future of our country and the future of my children who are still growing," teacher Anabela Mendes told Reuters.

The protest was the biggest so far this year. Relative patience with the terms of Portugal's 78 billion euro (66 billion pounds) bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund ran out in the middle of last year and protests and strikes have become more common.

The largest tax hikes in living memory will start to be felt when workers receive their first pay checks of 2013 at the end of January.

(Reporting By Miguel Pereira and Axel Bugge; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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