The speedy acquittal of a 22 year old woman on charges under Portugal's abortion laws has boosted a national campaign for the legalisation of abortion.
GV AND SV: Demonstrators trying to enter court, being stopped by police. (3 shots)
GV AND SV: Police attacking demonstrators with truncheons (3 shots)
SV: Women being interviewed in English about police attacks.
GV AND SV: Courthouse with police van parked outside
SV: Woman speaking to reporter in Portuguese with husband at side.
DEMONSTRATORS: "There were three policemen on one person, and they hit them and it was really strange, because why do they do that? Because they have the power, they have....the beatings, Why are they afraid? It is crazy."
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Background: The speedy acquittal of a 22 year old woman on charges under Portugal's abortion laws has boosted a national campaign for the legalisation of abortion. Roman Catholic Church leaders have condemned abortion and birth control but the pro-abortion campaign has been gathering pace.
SYNOPSIS: The trial of Mrs Conceicao Massano a housewife and nurse, was expected to be a long one, and pro-abortion demonstrators gathered outside the court to appeal for her acquittal. The accused admitted having an abortion nearly four years ago.
Before the verdict was announced demonstrators had tried to enter the already full courtroom, but were beaten back by police. The mostly women demonstrators withdrew in the face of the batton charge, and four of them were injured.
Some of the demonstrators questioned the police motives for making the batton charge.
The acquittal was made on a technicality, that there was no evidence that the woman had been pregnant in the first place. Before her trial Mrs massano was confident she would be released. She said that at the time, there was no path open to her other than to have an illegal abortion. Her trial was seen as a test case in the increasingly contentious abortion debate taking place in Portugal.