Portugal's Conservative Centre Democrat Party (CDS) held its first rally for 14 months at Lisbon's Campo Piqueno bull ring, on Sunday (8 February), despite a big left-wing attempt to disrupt it.
GV Socialist Party building (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR Soares speaks
GV EXTERIOR Riot police keeping crowd under control (2 shots)
GVs Conservative party supporters at rally
Basila Horta speaks
GV Crowd waving banners
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Background: Portugal's Conservative Centre Democrat Party (CDS) held its first rally for 14 months at Lisbon's Campo Piqueno bull ring, on Sunday (8 February), despite a big left-wing attempt to disrupt it.
Shots were reported to have been fired as police forced back a crowd of about 2,000 left-wingers chanting slogans against the CDS and waving fists.
The CDS called the rally to mark the start of its election campaign and to challenge the extreme left which broke up the party's last major gathering in Lisbon in November 1974.
The CDS party leaders used the rally to denounce the Socialist-dominated provisional government and its policies. Party leaders Diogo Fretas do Amaral said the Government had led the country by the "classical path to the Socialism of ruin".
While the 15,000 conservatives crammed into the bullring, Socialist leader Mario Soares launched his party's campaign by denying any possibility of an alliance with another party. He said the Communists had failed to learn the rules of democracy, while the Popular Democrats had veered too far to the right.
The Socialists won most votes in last year's elections, but observers feel their 38 per cent share will be reduced in the elections in Spring. The CDS is expected to poll about 20 per cent making it the country's third party after the Socialists and the Popular Democrats.