Left-wing speakers including the Communist party's Secretary-General Alvarto Cunhal on Saturday (14 February) warned their supporters that a split could lead to a right-wing victory in the forthcoming Portuguese elections.
GV Demonstrators at Santarem listening to speaker and chanting 'Vaco Vasco'
GV & CU Demonstrators chanting in main square (3 shots)
CU PULL BACK Communist insignia PULL BACK TO GV Press listening to translation of statement being read (4 shots)
SV Cunhal speaking to conference
GV EXTERIOR Hotel
GV INTERIOR Meeting
GV Secretary-General Silva Rasende addressing meeting
Initials CL/1945 CL/2010
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Background: Left-wing speakers including the Communist party's Secretary-General Alvarto Cunhal on Saturday (14 February) warned their supporters that a split could lead to a right-wing victory in the forthcoming Portuguese elections.
Mr. Cunhal, who was speaking at a news conference in Lisbon, also condemned Portugal's failure to recognise the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, the Soviet backed side which appears to be winning the civil war in the former Portuguese colony. Mr. Cunhal said the refusal of recognition could lead to the ruin and liquidation of Portugal's merchant fleet.
Portugal's highest political body, the Military Council of the Revolution, met for nine hours during the day to discuss whether to recognise the MPLA but the meeting broke up without announcing a decision. One of the reasons the council may have been hesitant about recognising the MPLA is that they do not want to antagonise the 350,000 Angolan settler refugees before the elections. The refugees are mainly anti-MPLA and blame the Portuguese government's decolonisation policy for their plight.
In the northern city of Oporto on Saturday security forces guarded a hotel where the right-wing Centre Democrat Party, or CDS, was beginning a two day congress. Leftist groups had announced earlier in the week that they planned to demonstrate against the meeting.
The Oporto demonstration did not take place but there was a left-wing demonstration in Santarem 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Lisbon, where Major Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and other leading officers involved in the unsuccessful November rebellion are being detained.
The crowd of mostly farmers and women heard trade union speakers appeal for unity among the workers against fascism.