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Back in the Day: Portugal's Carnation Revolution

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Back in the Day: Portugal's Carnation Revolution


April 25, 1974. The playing of a song, ‘Grandola, Vila Morena’, on Portuguese radio at 00:20 gives the signal for rebel army officers to launch their military coup against the four-decade-old Estado Novo regime. The Armed Forces Movement (MFA), led by General Antonio Spinola, Salgueiro Maia and other prominent army figures, quickly begins to surround key public and military buildings in Lisbon. The rebel MFA makes frequent announcements to members of the public, urging them to stay indoors for their own safety, but soon thousands have taken to the streets in support of the revolutionaries. Many congregated at the central market where in-season carnations were being sold. Many were picked up by civilians and soldiers who also put them into the barrels of their rifles, giving rise to the naming of the revolution. As the day wore on, army units loyal to the regime refused to obey orders to fire on crowds. Some began to defect and join the MFA and by early evening Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano had been forced to surrendered. Eight people were killed throughout the entire day, shot by pro-government secret police.

Also on April 25: French national anthem La Marseillaise composed by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle (1792); work begins on the Suez Canal (1859)

Born on April 25: Oliver Cromwell (1599), Ella Fitzgerald (1917), Al Pacino (1940), Johan Cruyff (1947)

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