Portugal Rising

“Não tenho partido, sindicato, nem religião e dispenso os incompetentes que (se) nos governam” – O meu cartaz favorito! Identifico-me com isto 100%.

– “I don’t have a party, union or religion and I dismiss the incompetentes who govern us (themselves).” – My favourite poster in the demonstration.

On Saturday Portugal went to the streets in a peaceful but strong protest. You can read about it here (NYTimes), here (LeMonde), or here (EuroNews video).

I woke up at 6.25am on Sunday morning to participate too. Thousands of miles away, I could only do it through twitter with the #15sPT (go check if you’re interested).

When I woke up the protest was already underway back in Portugal and pictures were already available. I felt so proud that finally the Portuguese stood up and did something together!

It’s hard to explain such a feeling towards a group of people but it brought tears to my eyes. I guess it could have been a feeling of HOPE!

No political party organized this protest, no union. The Portuguese citizens did (with the help of social media of course).

And this was the BEST OF IT! WE DID IT! We can do it! Together!

And what’s more, the Portuguese managed to make the biggest protest in Europe against austerity measures, the political classes and the troika, WITHOUT ANY VIOLENCE!

Safe two or three agents provocateurs (inciting agents who were simply ostracised by the majority), the Portuguese demonstrated they are a civilized people, a strong people. A people who does not need to be violent or hide behind masks to stand up. Violence is for the weak and coward. The Portuguese were strong, VERY STRONG.

I feel I’ve gotten to know the Portuguese as a society better. I always thought we were weak for being so passive, for not going out to the streets and break things, throw stuff.

But I want to say here that I was wrong!

Now I can see the Portuguese society is actually extremely strong. And showed me, and the world, strength does not include violence! You can make a stand and still keep your cool. 

Tons of respect for all the Portuguese who went to the streets and made it happen!

They are talking about 600 thousand people in Portugal and a total of 1 million Portuguese people worldwide took part.

For you to understand the significance of this, Portuguese people hand’t been out on the streets like this since the support rallies in 1974 and 1975, after the dictatorship ended.

I have talked about this before but, Portuguese as a society don’t really believe they can do much. Everything is always the worst it can be and nothing can ever get any better. It’s all very negative.

This might come from generations, and generations of helpless, hopeless people. Even though my generation has lived differently, it still has been brought up with mixed feelings regarding our power as citizens. It’s still all very blurry for us.

And it’s very hard to get out of such negativity; it’s hard to convince people of their power; it’s hard to get them to think that together they can do something, have an impact.

Even after such a successful protest, I saw some negativity on twitter (e.g., “oh we didn’t make #15sPT a trending ashtag”).


We were out on the streets (or participating in other ways), and THAT is what matters!

But no, Portuguese always have to find something negative. Much like as if they’re always trying to boycott their own successes. It’s all the old superstitions, in my view, the old “let’s not be too positive just in case things go wrong”.

It’s a fear of being happy, positive and trying. A fear of failure.

So, it does take A LOT to get the Portuguese out on the streets like that.

In this case, the murder of Portuguese society would be it. But I won’t go into that. I will leave you with today’s song and some images of an historic moment. Whatever comes out of this, the Portuguese did demonstrate they CAN STAND UP!


About Rita BA

I read, I write, I think, I dream, I write a bit more...
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2 Responses to Portugal Rising

  1. Pingback: Afinal, há esperança! « Quem está mal que se mude

  2. Pingback: Portugal: Massive Protest Against Troika Sparks Momentum · Global Voices

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