Anti-austerity protesters draped Lisbon statues in black mourning sashes to greet Angela Merkel yesterday, and a leading business newspaper blamed her for “Frankenstein” policies that were driving Portugal into poverty.
“The situation is difficult, but what Portugal is doing, it is for the future,” the German chancellor told a joint news conference with prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho, who has seen popular patience and political consensus begin to fray in recent weeks.
The Portuguese premier dismissed criticism such as that in the Diario Economico newspaper, which accused Ms Merkel of pursuing “Frankenstein experiments” with Portugal’s economy.
A few hundred demonstrators marched in Lisbon, one carrying a placard showing Ms Merkel with a Hitler moustache and the slogan “Not again!”. But there was little violence and much less anti-German fury than when she visited Athens.
While encouraging the Lisbon government to stick with its tax rises and spending cuts, Ms, Merkel may also hope her visit can reassure Germans, who will vote next year, that the billions they lent are being well used.
Many Portuguese are not convinced – a general strike against austerity is set for tomorrow.