April 25 – Freedom Day in Portugal

Posted on April 25, 2017

In 1974, Portugal had a revolution.

I'm happy to report that this revolution was not a long, violent war with thousands of people dead and millions injured or homeless. Instead - it was almost entirely a bloodless coup!

I love it when the people of a nation are able to wrest power away from an authoritarian right-wing regime - a fascist government that had ruled for more than 40 years - without violence!

(Sadly, the regime's political police did kill four people before surrendering, but the revolutionaries themselves did not use direct violence.)

This revolution is called the Carnation Revolution. The original overthrow of the dictatorship was planned and accomplished by left-leaning officers in the Portuguese army - a group called the Armed Forces Movement. But, unexpectedly, a huge campaign of civil resistance of the general populace flowed out into the streets. They celebrated the end of the dictatorship by putting carnations into the muzzles of rifles and onto the uniforms of soldiers. 

Not only did the dictatorship, called Estado Novo, fall, but Portugal withdrew from its African colonies and from East Timor, and Portugal became a democracy!

Now that is something to celebrate!


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