In Portalegre, Portugal, small landowners demonstrated on Saturday (5 April) in support of the government's agrarian reform policies.
GV PAN FROM Mountains TO farmers gathering in Portalegre's main square
TV Farmers with banners listening to speaker and applauding (2 shots)
TV PAN & SV Jose Manuel Casqueiro (Secretary General of Portuguese Farmers Confederation) speaking in Portuguese, farmers applaud (2 shots)
SV ZOOM IN TO CU Casqueiro speaking
CU Girl in audience applauding
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Background: In Portalegre, Portugal, small landowners demonstrated on Saturday (5 April) in support of the government's agrarian reform policies. Only a few hundred farmers attended the rally, but the event was politically important, because it was the first time since Portugal's revolution in 1964 that such a demonstration was held without incident.
SYNOPSIS: Saturday's (5 April) demonstration was called by the Portuguese Farmers's Confederation (CAP), a conservative body. It was the first in a series of rallies planned in support of the right-wing government. The CAP played a key role in defeating the Communists' and Leftists' bid for power in last January's elections (1980).
CAP Secretary-General Jose Manuel Casqueiro, a right-wing Parliamentary deputy, addressed the rally. Portalegre is the most conservative district of the Alentejo, the southern farming region where the communists draw some of their strongest support. The rally was the right's answer to a wave of anti-government strikes and demonstrations organised by left-wing opposition since the Democratic Alliance party came to power (January, 1980). Recently conflict between left and right wing supporters has come to a head because of the government's decision to return collectivised land to private ownership.
After the 1974 revolution, two and a half million acres (one million hectares) of privately-owned agricultural land was expropriated for communist-controlled collective farms. But since the approval of the Agrarian Reform Bill in 1977, the trend towards collective ownership has been reversed. Land has been divided into smaller and more productive units, and handed back to private ownership. The new right-wing government has speeded up the process, and many local workers fear unemployment. But at Saturday's (5 April) rally, Mr. Casqueiro told demonstrators that without private property, there could be no individual liberty.