Anti-austerity protests in Spain, Portugal

Thousands of anti-austerity protesters in European cities including Madrid, Lisbon

MADRID (AP) -- Anti-austerity protesters took to the streets of European cities including Madrid and Lisbon to express their anger at government cuts they say are making the financial crisis worse by stifling growth and increasing unemployment.

Thousands marched towards Madrid's central Neptuno fountain, near parliament, chanting "Government, resign," while around 15,000 gathered outside the International Monetary Fund's headquarters in Lisbon shouting "IMF, out of here."

Spain has been in recession for most of the past four years and has a record 27.2 percent unemployment rate. The percentage is twice that high for Spaniards under 25 years old.

Portugal pledged to cut its debt in return for a 78 billion euro ($101 billion) bailout two years ago.

Other protests Saturday were taking place in European cities including Brussels and Frankfurt.