Liberty Day - The Carnation Revolution
Published on 24th April, 2019 by Natalia Martins
Portugal is renowned for being a peaceful country – in fact according to the Global Peace Index 2018, it comes in at number 4 in the world!
And today, 25th April celebrates the 45th anniversary of what is still known as the “Carnation Revolution” - a bloodless military coup which saw Portugal’s dictatorship being overthrown. The coup, which began in Lisbon brought democracy and civil liberties to the Portuguese people and the withdrawal of Portugal from its African colonies.
The revolution was undertaken by young army officers who took less than 24 hours to bring down Europe’s longest dictatorship - nearly five decades from 1937 to 1974. The military forces quickly overwhelmed the government, sparking spontaneous demonstrations in the street where civilians ran out to mingle with the soldiers, despite being ordered to stay inside.
At the time, seasonal carnations were being sold everywhere in the famous central flower market of Lisbon and many of the jubilant crowds put them into the soldiers gun barrels, inspiring the name “Carnation Revolution” to describe this virtually bloodless uprising. Many said the atmosphere was more like a party – and the Portuguese people are still immensely proud of how this day transformed society.
Freedom Day, (Dia da Liberdade) as it is known and the peaceful revolution is remembered in more than 1,150 streets, avenues and plazas which are called 25 de Abril and the former Salazar Bridge which crosses the river Tejo in Lisbon was also renamed Ponte 25 de Abril.