A near-bloodless military coup has toppled the Portuguese Government and left the country in the hands of a military junts pledged to restore civil liberties after almost 50 years of dictatorial rule.
A near-bloodless military coup has toppled the Portuguese Government and left the country in the hands of a military junts pledged to restore civil liberties after almost 50 years of dictatorial rule. The day after Thursday's (25 April) coup, Portuguese paratroops and marines were reported to be cleaning jp the last packets of resistance to the takeover.
Portuguese Prime Minister Dr. Marcello Caetano and several other leading government leaders have flown to exile on the island of Madeira after surrendering to General Antonio De Spinola. Spinola was fired last month for demanding a political, rather than a military, solution to the 13-years of struggle with guerrilla movements in the African territories of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bisseau. It is reported that Spinola -- who became a national here after advocating changes in colonial policy in a book last month -- was not part of the military plot, but was approached by Dr. Caetano when it became obvious his Government was going to fall.
Thousands of people packed the streets of Liabon to cheer troops when news of the takeover became public. There was little violence involved only three deaths were reported in the capital. In a little over four hours, the troops had almost completely stifled resistance in Lisbon and other major cities.
Twenty four hours after the coup, General Spinola made a dramatic break with the past with the pledge of new elections within a year, the release of political prisoners and new freedom of expression and freedom of the press. It was part of a "clean-sweep" of policies by the 64-year-old General and his seven-man "Junta of National Salvation". Portugal's only legal political grouping and the powerful secret police have been abolished. The formation of other political associations will now be allowed in preparation for the promised free elections by universal suffrage.
General Spinola late went on television with other members of the Junta to explain the takeover and the Junta's new "clean-sweep" of policies.