UK & World News
Spain And Portugal Hit By Austerity Protests
Tens of thousands of people have staged rallies in Spain and Portugal to protest against punishing austerity measures.
Demonstrators threw tomatoes and fireworks at the Portuguese headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Lisbon and two people were arrested.
In Madrid, buses transporting protesters blocked several major roads on Saturday before a march began in the Spanish capital.
The Spanish and Portuguese governments have both implemented austerity measures to prevent their countries from financial collapse.
Spain is stuck in a double-dip recession with unemployment close to 25%.
The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has introduced stinging cuts and raised taxes to reduce the deficit and reassure investors.
That situation could get worse in coming weeks.
At a meeting of eurozone finance ministers in Cyprus on Friday, Spain revealed it will present a new set of economic reforms by the end of September - raising concerns it might ask for financial help from the ECB.
In Portugal, another package of recently announced government austerity measures could spark further angry protests.
One man was taken to hospital with burns after reportedly attempting to set himself on fire in the northern town of Aveiro.
Last week, Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho announced an increase in workers' social security contributions from 11% to 18% of their monthly salary - equivalent to a month's wages.
Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said income taxes will go up next year and public employees will lose either their Christmas or holiday bonus.
Tax hikes and spending cuts imposed since last year's bailout have contributed to record unemployment in Portugal above 15% and pushed the economy into its worst recession since the 1970s.