Thousands of people thronged the streets of Lisbon to celebrate May Day on Wednesday (1 May) -- six days after the military coup which brought to power a military junta under General Antonio De Spinola.
Thousands of people thronged the streets of Lisbon to celebrate May Day on Wednesday (1 May) -- six days after the military coup which brought to power a military junta under General Antonio De Spinola. It was the first time in loving memory that May Day has been celebrated in Portugal.
General Spinola has published a programme, designed to restore political freedom, including general elections in which all shades of political opinion are to be represented.
May Day was celebrated in an ex???berant carnival mood. The few soldiers in evidence were given red carnations by the ecstatic crowds -- almost everybody else was also wearing them.
There was an enthusiastic response to a call by left-wing groups to make it a 'Red May Day'. People hung huge crimson drapes in front of their balconies. And Socialist groups -- many of them banned under the previous government of Dr. Marcello Caetano -- handed out Pamphlets.
The main rally of the day was staged by Labour unions at a football stadium near the centre of the city. Tens of thousands of workers were addressed by political figures, including Socialist leader Senhor Mario Soares.
The junta had warned against clashes between factions of right and left, but the day's celebrations passed off without violence.
SYNOPSIS: Six days after the military coup in Portugal which toppled Dr. Marcello Caetano and brought to power the military junta of General Spinola -- and on Wednesday thousands of people thronged the streets of Lisbon in an exuberant celebration of May Day. It was the first time in living memory that May Day had been celebrated as a national holiday in Portugal.
The enthusiastic scenes were a sign of the wide popular support for General Spinola. He has published a programme aimed at restoring political freedom, including the dismantling of the secret police and free elections in which all shades of political opinion are to be represented.
Many people decorated their balconies with crimson drapes, answering the call of left-wing groups to make this a 'Red May Day'.
Socialist groups -- which had been the main organisers of the May Day rallies -- distributed pamphlets. Many of them had been banned under the previous government. Their main point of difference with General Spinola is Portugal's Africa colonies; he envisages that they will gradually become autonomous states within a federation. Portugal's left wing is demanding complete independence now. The government had warned against clashes between right and left wing factions, but the day passed off without violent incident.
The largest rally was held at a football stadium near the city centre. Tens of thousands of workers attended.
The Socialist leader Senhor Mario Soares addressed them. He drew loud cheers when he said the previous Prime Minister -- Dr. Caetano -- should be put on trial.
Another speaker was the Communist party leader, Dr. Alvaro Cunhal, who has recently returned after fourteen years of exile.