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Police face off in Portuguese austerity protest

March 6, 2014

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Scores of Portuguese riot police have stopped protesting off-duty colleagues breaking through a security cordon around Parliament.

In a tense two-hour standoff Tuesday, uniformed police formed a barrier around the parliament building to keep out the protesters who were part of a march of more than 10,000 police officers. Dozens of demonstrators pushed up against the police line but failed to break through.

In a similar demonstration last November, protesters reached the doors of Parliament. That security breach brought the resignation of the national police chief.

Police and other security officials are angry about cuts to their pay, pensions and welfare benefits as part of government spending cuts.

The center-right government agreed to cost-cutting austerity measures when Portugal took a 78 billion-euro ($108 billion) bailout in 2011.

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