Portugal strikes over austerity cuts

A 24-hour strike is underway in Portugal as workers across the country protest against an austerity budget designed to help the country cut its debt.

­Portuguese workers are staging the first general strike in decades ahead of Friday’s parliamentary vote on the crisis budget.

Subway, railroad, and other public transport systems in the capital, Lisbon, are expected to be closed all day. Lisbon's International Airport cancelled all services late on Wednesday, hours before the strike began.

Other public services such as schools, mail deliveries and trash collection are also affected.

In order to receive a US $100 billion financial rescue package for its crippled economy, Portugal has initiated a three-year program of debt reduction measures.

The program was approved in May and includes an increase in taxes for the majority of Portuguese people as well as cuts in salaries and bonuses for civil servants.

The strike comes as poor prospects and the country's fragile finances drive more young people abroad.

Earlier the Fitch Rating agency downgrades Portugal to junk status due to the country’s high debts. Portugal's Long term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR)  went down from 'BBB-' to'BB+' .

Watch RT's Irina Galushko report about the reasons that force young Portuguese people to leave the country.