Supporters of Portugal's Socialist Party took to the streets of Lisbon on Monday (23 June) to demonstrate their allegiance to the country's moderate President, General Francisco da Costa Gomes.
Supporters of Portugal's Socialist Party took to the streets of Lisbon on Monday (23 June) to demonstrate their allegiance to the country's moderate President, General Francisco da Costa Gomes. The rally was called to show the Socialists' support for the Supreme Revolutionary Council's weekend announcement condemning "dictatorship of the proletariat" and re-affirming a commitment to multi-party democracy.
About 50,000 Socialists took part in the three-hour march, moving through the streets peacefully under a sea of red flags. As they made their way towards the Presidential Palace at Belem they chanted slogans like "National independence and democracy" and "Second and Third World against the Superpowers.
At the Palace, the crowd took up the President's name ... cheering the man who is widely believed to be leader of the moderate faction within the Armed Forces Movement, Portugal's dominant political force. He addressed to crowd from the Palace balcony, calling them "Dear friends and comrades", exactly as he had spoken at a Communist Party rally outside his Palace a month ago.
The demonstration was seen partly as a tactical move aimed at showing the Socialist as the party most closely identified with the Armed Forces Movement. But there was also a strong anti-Communist undercurrent. Marchers handed out leaflets accusing the Communist Party of conspiring to turn the Armed Forces Movement into a docile instrument of communist policy. The communist Party had refused to take part in the demonstration but most of the other left-wing parties were represented.