Portugal: too soon to celebrate freedom?

Portugal celebrated Freedom Day on 25 April, in commemoration of the Carnation Revolution of 1974 when an almost bloodless coup supported by a clear majority of the population put an end to the dictatorship introduced by António de Salazar. Unlike in 2020, this year several thousand people gathered on Lisbon's Avenida da Liberdade despite the pandemic. Commentators take very different views of this.

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Diário de Notícias (PT) /

We haven't defeated the pandemic yet

Diário de Notícias would have preferred to see smaller gatherings:

“There is at least one important freedom that we have not yet won in April 2021: freedom of movement. The Avenida da Liberdade in Lisbon was full of Portuguese men and women on anniversary of the Carnation Revolution. Too many people too close to each other. Despite the positive trend in the infection rates and death toll, a state of emergency is in effect until the 30th of this month. The pandemic has not yet disappeared and the Portuguese have not yet achieved herd immunity. We should keep this in mind as we strive for total freedom and more social and physical closeness.”

Visão (PT) /

Conscious, conscientious mobilisation

Visão, on the other hand, argues that the mass gatherings were perfectly responsible:

“We live in hard times and are exhausted, but democracy has not been suspended. After a year of lockdowns, with no demonstrations, thousands of people took to the streets this Sunday to celebrate freedom while keeping as much distance as possible from each other. I was on the Avenida da Liberdade and I saw that: freedom, awareness, emotion and security. ... In a scenario dominated by a profound economic and social crisis and a subdued mood, the conscious mobilisation of a people in defence of their history, their values and their rights is encouraging.”