Over the past few days, the controversy around the topic of staging an event in parliament to mark the anniversary has intensified, with two online petitions being launched; one in favour of holding the event and another opposing it during a time when Portugal is under lock down due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
The online petition in favour of cancelling celebrations has already gathered more than 100,000 signatures, while another that defends the celebration by the Assembly of the Republic, posted online last Saturday, had more than 24,000 subscribers at the same time, headed by historical leftist figures such as Manuel Alegre, from the PS, Fernando Rosas, from BE, and Domingos Abrantes, from PCP.
Last week, the leader of the CDS-PP, Francisco Rodrigues dos Santos, announced that he would not go to the solemn session marking the 25th of April in parliament, as he considered it to be “a terrible example for the Portuguese”, and the only deputy of Chega, André Ventura , wrote to the president of parliament, asking Ferro Rodrigues to cancel the session, saying that it “is generating a huge feeling of revolt and indignation in the Portuguese people”.
Speaking to the newspaper Público, the President of the Assembly of the Republic, Ferro Rodrigues, assured that, “more than at any other time, the 25th of April must be and will be celebrated in the AR”.
“Celebrating the 25th of April is to say that no anti-democratic alternative will emerge from this crisis,” he added
The Secretary of State for Parliamentary Affairs said that the 25th of April celebrations in the parliament had been planned “in detail”, ensuring that “all care” will be taken.
“The Assembly of the Republic is taking every care to ensure that this ceremony takes place following all the precautions,” said Duarte Cordeiro.
The minister added that there have been plenary sessions “every week” and that for this reason, “it would be strange not to have a 25th April ceremony”.
According to the Secretary of State, the celebration was “planned in detail”, with “restrictions and reduction in the number of people”.
The Assembly of the Republic estimates that about 130 people will participate in the solemn session of the 25th of April between deputies and guests, against about 700 last year, due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a note on the solemn commemorative session of the 46th anniversary of 25 April, 1974, the office of the president of parliament, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, said that the usual customs of the ceremony, which ranks as “one of the highlights of the parliamentary agenda”, will be “naturally adapted, both from an organisational point of view and from the point of view of the number of guests, although without losing sight of the dignity of the ceremony”.
Spokeswoman Maria da Luz Rosinha said that the PS bench had already said that it would have only 22 deputies (the same as in the current plenary sessions, with one fifth of the parliamentarians), the PSD has not yet clarified the final number that it will have on its bench on Saturday, after initially having appointed a list of 27 people.
“We count that in this session we will have, including journalists, a number inferior to the usual one during a vote day “, she pointed out.
Director-General of the Health Directorate, Graça Freiras said that “there were all conditions on the part of the Assembly of the Republic to hold the commemorative session”.
Asked whether masks were advised for the ceremony, the spokeswoman for the leaders’ conference responded that this would not be necessary.
“There is no recommendation in this regard, social distance is what is required and this is taken care of”, she said.
Originally from the UK, Daisy has been living and working in Portugal for more than 20 years. She has worked in PR, marketing and journalism, and has been the editor of The Portugal News since 2019. Jornalista 7920