25 April 2013, 15:55

Protests mark 39th anniversary of Carnation Revolution in Portugal

Portugal on Thursday marked the 39th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, which toppled a four-decade dictatorship, as the opposition accused the government of violating its legacy with its austerity policies.

Far-left parties called for early elections and a renegotiation of the bailout terms agreed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at a parliamentary session marking the anniversary.

The EU and IMF granted Lisbon loans worth 78 billion euros (101 billion dollars) in 2011, demanding that Portugal cut spending, raise taxes and adopt liberal reforms.

Critics said the programme has impoverished Portugal with the economy expected to shrink by more than 2 per cent this year and unemployment at more than 17 per cent.

There is an "austerity fatigue" among the Portuguese, President Anibal Cavaco Silva said in his anniversary speech, in which he called for a "serene and objective" evaluation of the bailout results.

Socialist dignitaries, such as former president Mario Soares and poet Manuel Alegre, boycotted the parliamentary session.

Veterans of the revolution attended rallies at which participants sang Grandola Vila Morena, the theme song of the revolution, which has been adopted by protest movements. Bigger protests were planned for the evening.

In the 1974 Carnation Revolution, a group of left-wing officers staged a coup and overthrew a corporatist dictatorship, which had held power since 1933. The revolution restored democracy to Portugal.

Voice of Russia, dpa

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