Sat, Mar 16, 2013 - Page 10 News List

Austerity triggers novel protests in Portugal

People rest by the seaside at a beach in the Southern Portuguese province of Algarve on March 10.

Photo: Reuters

A Portuguese revolutionary song from 40 years ago is haunting the bailed-out country’s government. Anti-austerity protesters are hounding senior officials by loudly singing at public events a celebrated tune from the 1974 Carnation Revolution. They have managed to silence some of their targets, including the prime minister when he was trying to give a speech in Parliament.

After winter weather discouraged street protests and with strikes petering out amid falling income, dissenters in Portugal have formed civic movements which have come up with new ways of retaliating against their leaders’ unpopular policies.

“There’s a broad feeling of powerlessness” among aggrieved Europeans, says Antonio Costa Pinto, a political scientist at Lisbon University’s Institute of Social Science. “With few resources, (the civic movements) can make a big impact.”

The recent mischief is needling politicians who are viewed as deaf to appeals for less hardship. “It helps achieve an aim, which is to grind down the government,” said Costa Pinto.

Protesters recently sang the folk song Grandola, Vila Morena (Grandola, Dusky Town) from the public gallery when the prime minister was addressing Parliament, forcing him to stop and wait for them to finish.









1. hound v.

騷擾;逼迫 (sao1 rao3; bi1 po4)

例: His opponents used the allegations to hound him out of office.


2. needle v.

刺激;用問題惹惱某人 (ci4 ji1; yong4 wen4 ti2 re2 nao3 mo3 ren2)

例: His mother was always needling him about getting a job.


3. grind down v. phr.

折磨 (zhe2 mo2)

例: These people have been ground down by years of oppression.


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