Portuguese police shot dead a leftist in a clash during a two-hour strike by shop assistants protesting against a government wage freeze in Lisbon on Wednesday (21 January).
GV Police rushing through demonstrators and dispersing small crowd
GV Police advancing followed by demonstrators
GV NIGHT SCENES Demonstrators marching with banners (4 shots)
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Background: Portuguese police shot dead a leftist in a clash during a two-hour strike by shop assistants protesting against a government wage freeze in Lisbon on Wednesday (21 January).
The dead man was a 23-year-old shop employee who was among a crowd of union pickets surrounding a shop that had not closed during the stoppage.
Eyewitnesses said the crowd turned against a policeman who tried to intervene, following him back to a nearby police station. He and several other policemen opened fire when stones began to fly.
Five other strikers and one policeman were wounded, at least four of them by bullets, according to doctors who treated the injured.
The incident took place just near Lisbon's Rossio Square, where a leftist demonstration -- declared illegal by the authorities -- was about to take place.
The demonstration was declared illegal by Lisbon's Socialist Civil Governor because it had not been properly notified to the authorities. But another communique issued just before the demonstration was due to start said the Governor had decided not to prevent the rally going ahead, even though it was illegal.
This was because the organisers had presented themselves to the authorities in the morning claiming they were ignorant of the law, the statement said.
The demonstration later got underway without incident. Its aim was to press for a forty hour working week and workers' control in enterprises. About 3,000 demonstrators marched to the Labour Ministry, which was ringed by 100 police with steel helmets, machine pistols and tear gas.
The shop employees' two hour strike had been called by their trade union to put pressure on managements who are refusing to negotiate new collective wage contracts.