Spain, Portugal Brace for More Austerity Protests

(AP) MADRID
Authorities in Madrid are bracing for more protests near the Spanish Parliament in the city's downtown district after demonstrations there last week brought violence and arrests.

The latest rally Saturday is expected to draw tens of thousands of people angered by government spending cuts and tax hikes. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government says the measures will continue into next year, as will the economic recession.

Spain's unemployment rate is almost 25 percent, and more than half of people under 24 are jobless.

In neighboring Portugal, where protests have been big but tame, the main trade union confederation has called people onto the streets to demonstrate against the bailed-out country's austerity drive.

Portugal is locked into a program of budget cuts in return for last year's (EURO)78 billion ($101 billion) bailout.

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