Freedom Day in Portugal

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Today Portugal celebrates Freedom Day! On 25 April citizens of Portugal commemorate the anniversary of the Carnation Revolution that overthrew the dictatorship that had gripped the country for almost five decades – the longest authoritarian regime in Western Europe. The organizers of the coup were a group of anti-regime officers of the army under the name Armed Forces Movement.

Despite repeated radio appeals for citizens to remain in their homes, the revolutionaries were soon joined by large numbers of civilians, holding red carnations. Citizens followed the lead of Celeste Caeiro, who offered soldiers flowers, and put them in the muzzles of their guns and pinned them on their uniforms.

The revolution achieved its goals without resorting to violence and eventually led to the establishment of a democratic government, the creation of a new constitution and the ultimate dissolution of the Portuguese Empire after granting independence to its remaining colonies.