In Portugal, thousands of farmworkers attended the funeral of two communist workers shot by police during lashes in the country's southern Alentjo farm belt.
In Portugal, thousands of farmworkers attended the funeral of two communist workers shot by police during lashes in the country's southern Alentjo farm belt. The two men were killed and two more injured last Thursday (27 September) when officials tried to recover private land seized by a farm workers collective after the 1974 revolution.
SYNOPSIS: The coffins holding the bodies of 17-year-old Antonio Pomar Casquina and 57-year-old Joao Caravela were followed by a 12 kilometres (8 miles) long cortege to the cemetery of Santiago do Escoural. Many of the mourners chanted "murders, murders", but there was no violence.
The shooting last Thursday was the worst incident since the Portuguese authorities began handing back parts of the seized estates last year. It was also the first time workers from a collective farm clashed with officials since Portugal's first woman Prime Minister Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo took office two months ago. Ms. Pintasilgo delayed her departure for the United Nation's General Assembly in New York by 24 hours following the shooting. She also ordered an official enquiry.
Portugal's rural police said they were forced to open fire when farmworkers started shooting and stoning them, but a farmers spokesman said his men intervened when Agricultural Ministry officials tried to round up cattle belonging to the collective. The government has now suspended two similar operations planned by the minister until further notice.