This was a really busy week at Lisbon Stories and I’m really ashamed of writing this post only today! Anyway, I’d be even more ashamed of not talking about this at all, so, here it goes: Why was it a holiday on Wednesday?
April the 25th, of 1974, was the day of the Red Carnation Revolution. Until then Portugal was living in a fascist dictatorship, first led by Oliveira Salazar and then leaded by Marcelo Caetano when Salazar deceased in 1969.
During this time there was no freedom of speech. Everyone was afraid of talking as there could be members of the political police (“PIDE”) everywhere; newspapers, books radio and so would need to be approved by the censure police before they could be published; all those who were communists or simply against the regime could be arrested or tortured; and I could keep on with this list forever!
Finally in 1974 the “Armed Forces Movement” (MFA) organised a coup to put an end to the dictatorship. The crucial point happen in front of Carmo police station, when the MFA stood in front of the building where the government was. The name “Red Carnation Revolution” comes from the fact that the soldiers put red carnations in their guns to show that they didn’t want to shoot. Actually, they managed to put an end to 41 years of fascist dictatorship without making one single death. Isn’t that something?!
All the political prisoners were set free right away and the war with the colonies, which wanted the independence, finished right away too. Nowadays, every year, on the 25th of April, there’s a parade that crosses a major avenue in Lisbon. Everyone carries red carnations and sing revolutionary songs and slogans to remember the day of the revolution.