Public transport at a standstill in Portuguese general strike

Expect to see a lot more of these over the next few months in Europe as the austerity measures being passed by european parliaments begin to bite.


Portuguese workers' general strike halted public transport and some factories in many parts of the country on Thursday and thousands marched to protest against austerity measures imposed as the price of an EU/IMF bailout.

The 78 billion euro ($100 billion) rescue fund is designed to keep Portugal afloat and help stem the euro zone's debt crisis, but the spending cuts have sent the country into its worst recession in decades.

Thousands of protesters marched in Lisbon, with many chanting: "Spain, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, our struggle is international!" referring to spending cuts across Europe. "Let bankers pay!" said some banners.

Highlighting Portugal's economic woes, Fitch Ratings on Thursday cut its credit rating to junk.

Police moved picketers to allow a few buses and garbage trucks to leave packed garages but, aside from some pushing and shoving, there was no violence. Minimum public services were maintained under court orders.

Planes were grounded, trains halted and most public services interrupted as workers across the nation of 11 million protested against job losses, tax hikes and pay cuts agreed between Portugal and the troika of lenders -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.

I say give them what they want. Repeal the austerity measures and see where it gets them. No one would buy their government's bonds - worthless anyway since the Portuguese government has no intention of paying them back. Lisbon would then be forced off the euro and the Portuguese people would be forced to pay for their own deficits. Massive tax increases. Huge layoffs becaus the government would be unable to pay the salaries of workers. In short, a meltdown to end all meltdowns.

If the workers in Portugal think they have it bad now, let them get what they wish for. They will look back on conditions today as a golden age.