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Thousands of Portuguese teachers take to the streets demanding higher wages

One of the biggest protests in recent years saw tens of thousands of Portuguese teachers and school staff march through Lisbon on Saturday demanding higher wages and better working conditions.

A demonstration was held by the Union of All Education Professionals (STOP), where protesters held banners and chanted slogans to urge the resignation of Education Minister Joao Costa.

A teacher on the lowest pay scale makes about 1,100 euros per month, but on average, no one makes more than 2,000 euros per month, which protesters say is too low, particularly given the high cost of living.

It has been a rough ride since a year ago when the Socialists won an outright parliamentary majority under Prime Minister Antonio Costa, but 13 ministers and secretaries of state have left their posts, some due to allegations of past misconduct or questionable practices.

Protesters believe that it is crucial for what they described as corrupt Socialist leaders watching this demonstration to carefully consider their next move, as they hope to see consequences of their rally, and want serious measures to be taken.

The teachers said they were “constantly losing income” and that they were often placed in schools far from home. Protesters, some wearing black to mourn the state of the education sector, said the government has done little to improve their situation.

Since early December, teachers across the country have been on strike, leaving many students without classes. The education minister said on Friday that minimum service decrees might be needed to compel some teachers back to work.

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