Conservative smallholder farmers in Portugal have called for a halt to the Socialist government's policy of taking over land to set up co-operatives.
RIO MAIOR, PORTUGAL (OCTOBER 10, 1976) (REUTERS)
GV PAN Crowd listening to farmers leader
SV Farmers leader speaking to crowd (2 shots)
SV & CU Crowd listening (5 shots)
GVS Officials stand (2 shots)
GV & SV Crowd applauding (2 shots)
LV Crowd ZOOM INTO part of crowd chasing news reporter
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Background: Conservative smallholder farmers in Portugal have called for a halt to the Socialist government's policy of taking over land to set up co-operatives.
About 10,000 conservative farmers held a protest meeting in the market town of Rio Maior, about 50 miles (80 kilometres) north of Lisbon on Sunday (10 October). The farmers passed a resolution demanding the resignation of Agriculture Minister, Mr. Antonio Lopes Cardoso. The excited crowd shouted "Thief, thief" every time the Agriculture Minister' name was mentioned. They blamed him for maintaining what they consider a communist law.
The smallholders are angry over a government pledge to issue orders legalising the occupation of more than one million hectares (2.5 million acres) of land by left-wing labourers last year. The government has begun returning small areas of land to their original owners, arguing they should not have had their land taken away from them under the reform law decreed by the former pro-communist provisional government. The farmers want no more land at all taken away from them under the law.
The smallholders, most of whom come form the north and depend on their small plots for their livelihood, feel that the law legalising the loss of their land has extended to smaller properties than originally promised. They've threatened to withdraw all support for the government if it persists with the present agrarian reforms.