Portugal celebrates 40th anniversary of 'world's coolest coup'

Lisbon, Portugal, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of the Salazar regime with books, concerts and commemorations of the "Carnation Revolution."
By Ed Adamczyk   |   April 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM   |   Comments

LISBON , Portugal, April 25 (UPI) -- Lisbon, Portugal, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the revolt by idealistic, young army officers that brought down the country’s dictatorship in 1974.

Downtown Lisbon displays large black-and-white photographs of smiling soldiers with droopy mustaches, marching to what has been called “the world’s coolest coup.” It was Apr. 25, 1974 that the revolt turned into a popular uprising involving young people in bell-bottom pants and carrying flowers. In less than 24 hours, Europe’s longest-lived dictatorship collapsed.

“It was a coup like no other. The atmosphere was more like a party. None of us had ever heard of an army intervening to bring democracy. Surely, it’s normally the other way around,” recalled Swiss journalist Werner Herzog.

The almost bloodless “Carnation Revolution” is a source of pride for Portuguese, and the anniversary includes concerts, book launches and a series of tributes to the “Captains of April,” who led the coup against Portuguese dictator Antonio Oliveira Salazar’s ultra-conservative regime and its 36-year reign.

Among the changes in Portugal since 1974 is a rise in the rate of education. Under Salazar, only a fourth-grade education was compulsory and a quarter of citizens could read or write. Today, 95 percent have those capabilities, and universities enroll ten times more students than before the revolution.

Under Salazar, culture and art were suppressed, the press was censored, a secret police force clamped down on opposition, and women were not permitted to vote. Today, women enjoy equal rights and fill over 30 percent of seats in parliament.

“April 25” is also the most popular street name in Portugal, with 1,150 street and plazas named after the date.

Follow @adamczyk_ed and @UPI on Twitter.
Contact the Author
© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Celebrity Couples of 2014 [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Ukraine: Troop movements will no longer be publicized after Russian attacks
High-ranking Chicago police officer charged with putting gun in man's mouth
Federal judge strikes down polygamy ban in Utah
Putin mocks trapped Ukrainian soldiers, urges rebels to release them
Islamic State claims mass execution of 250 Syrian soldiers
Trending News