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Thousands in Portugal protest austerity cuts

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February 16, 2013 03:27 PM EST | AP


LISBON, Portugal — Several thousand people are protesting in Lisbon against austerity cuts the government says are needed to help Portugal out of recession.

The nation is heading for a third straight year of negative growth, and protesters are worried more pain is heading their way as the government tries to make more savings.

One of Saturday's protesters, 71-year-old Jorge Silva, said the elderly are seeing nearly constant deterioration of their living conditions, including difficulty buying medicine "because they don't have money."

Portugal was the third country, after Greece and Ireland, to fall into the eurozone's financial crisis and required a (EURO)78 billion lifeline in May 2011 to avert bankruptcy.

Austerity cuts, particularly to health care services and public education, have triggered many strikes and street protests.