Portugal was paralysed by a major strike on Thursday, called by the country's largest trade union to protest against the government's austerity measures. Two of our Portuguese Observers explained how these cuts are hurting them. In Portugal's major cities, public transportation grounded to a halt. Many schools had to send students home because teachers stayed away from work. Hospitals ran a basic service as doctors and nurses marched in the streets. Portugal has been praised by the European Union for abiding by the terms of its 78-billion euro bailout, granted last May, but the government's cuts are highly criticised at home. For the next three years, the debt-ridden country will have to continue hiking taxes and cutting public sector wages and welfare. Meanwhile, Portugal is struggling with a record 14.8 percent unemployment rate.
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