Lisbon, May 30 (IANS) Thousands of people took to the streets in Lisbon to protest against the Portuguese government's proposed plan to slash spending on private schools.

Dressed in yellow T-shirts, playing drums and singing the national anthem, teachers, students and parents marched down the capital city's 24 de Julio Avenue and D.Carlos I Avenue before heading to parliament on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The protest was organised by the Defesa da Escola Ponto (DEP), a movement that defends private education. The DEP said least 40,000 people were present at the protest.

The government recently announced that funds would be focused on public schools, "which belong to everyone and guarantee equal opportunities", rather than private schools that have partnership contracts with the state.

The move will result in shutdown of many private schools and subsequent job losses.

According to the new enrolment rules introduced by the education ministry, students can only join private schools with partner contracts if they live in the school district.