Portugal’s Costa Expects Friday’s Demonstration Will Be Orderly

(Bloomberg) -- Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa said he expects that a planned Friday demonstration inspired by France’s Yellow Vests movement will be orderly and follow the law.

“It’s legitimate to expect that demonstrations exist and that they take place calmly and respect the law, as is the tradition’’ in Portugal, Costa said in comments broadcast by television channel SIC Noticias. Transport infrastructure workers and nurses are among those who have been on strike recently.

Portugal’s Costa Expects Friday’s Demonstration Will Be Orderly

Portugal’s police expects the so-called "Coletes Amarelos", or yellow vests, to hold 25 protests in 17 cities across the country on Friday, it said in a statement on Thursday. The group estimates as many as 50,000 people could peacefully take to the streets in Lisbon on Friday, according to spokesman David Lemos.

"We’re just Portuguese citizens who want to change what is wrong in our country," Lemos said by phone from London. The group plans to hold weekly protests to demand, among other things, lower taxes, increases to the minimum wage, pensions and unemployment benefits, the 43-year-old Lemos said.

Prime Minister Costa has reversed state salary cuts faster than the previous administration proposed, while raising indirect taxes. His minority Socialist government is scheduled to face a general election in October.

Tourism has boosted the Portuguese economy, which last year posted its strongest growth since 2000, helping the government lower the jobless rate and manage the budget deficit. The Bank of Portugal now forecasts the economy will slow every year through 2021.

Portugal’s Costa Expects Friday’s Demonstration Will Be Orderly

Costa’s Socialists had 41.8 percent support in a poll published by weekly newspaper Expresso on Nov. 16, leading the opposition Social Democrats by 15 percentage points.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.