Portugal police chief quits after defiant protest

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An on-duty police officer stands guard outside the Portuguese parliament during a demonstration by Portuguese national security forces unions and professional associations, in Lisbon, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Several thousand off-duty Portuguese police officers protesting against austerity measures have broken through a line of riot police protecting the country's Parliament. The protesters overturned police barricades on steps leading up to the building and reached the main door before dispersing. Some shook hands with on-duty colleagues who unsuccessfully tried to hold them back. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — One of Portugal's most senior policemen has resigned after several thousand off-duty officers protesting against austerity measures broke through a police cordon protecting the country's Parliament.

Interior Minister Miguel Macedo, who oversees police forces, said in a statement Friday he had accepted the resignation of Superintendent Paulo Gomes. Gomes led one of the country's three police forces.

Demonstrating police officers defied orders from their on-duty colleagues to stay back from the parliament building late Thursday. The protesters pushed through a line of riot police and charged up steps to the main doors before dispersing.

Police associations are demanding that their members be spared from pay and pension cuts being introduced in return for a 78 billion euro ($105 billion) international bailout granted to Portugal in 2011.