Anti-austerity movement in Portugal

Anti-austerity movement in Portugal
Part of the European sovereign debt crisis
Top of the demonstration in Lisbon
Date 12 March 2011 – 15 October 2011
Location Portugal
Caused by Austerity
Methods Demonstrations, occupations, rioting

The anti-austerity movement in Portugal, also referred to as the 12th March Movement (Portuguese: Movimento 12 de Março), also referred to as the Geração à Rasca (Portuguese: [ʒɨɾɐˈsɐ̃w a ˈʁaʃkɐ], "struggling generation"), took place in more than 10 cities of Portugal against austerity, the economic crisis and labour rights (Manifest). They were the biggest events since the 1974 Carnation Revolution and organized without political parties or trades unions support.[1]

A Facebook event and a blog, created by a group of friends: Alexandre de Sousa Carvalho, João Labrincha and Paula Gil, were the starting point.[2]


A number of musical acts in Portugal had been involved in protest actions against the austerity measures at the beginning of the crisis. Music addressing Portugal's political situation became a part of local and national political protest narratives, that found music playing an important role in protests in Portugal—as they have since the Portuguese Revolution culminating in the 25 de Abril coup in 1974.

Among this music, was included traditional Portuguese music and instruments including gaitas, flautas, rhythm sections, and brass music. The organizers of Geração a Rasca, put out a general call for musicians to appear in the procession, and also included personal invitations to some of the musical acts to perform.

Various protest songs addressing the precarious situation in Portugal during the crisis were performed in Portugal. Deolinda's song "Parva Que Sou", which talks about precarious working conditions for Portuguese youth, in particular qualified university graduates, became an inspiration for some of the protesters.[3] [4]

Other inspiration for the protests came from Homens da Luta, a comedian duo that won the Festival da Canção with a song about the "joy of the struggle", emulating social protests of the 1960s.[5]


Around 300,000 people gathered on 12 March 2011 in Porto and Lisbon alone.[6] Events also occurred in several other Portuguese cities, Funchal, Ponta Delgada, Viseu, Braga, Castelo Branco, Coimbra, Faro, Guimarães and Leiria.[7] Several Portuguese emigrants also gathered in front of the embassies of their country of residence to protest in Barcelona, London, Berlin, The Hague, Madrid, Lubliana, Luxemburg, Brussels, Maputo, New York, Copenhagen and Stuttgart.[8]


Spain's May demonstrations were influenced by the Portuguese events,[9] which in turn incited new activity in Portugal.[10]

On 23 March 2011, the prime minister José Sócrates resigned when new austerity measures failed to pass in the Parliament.[11]

On 15 April 2011, the initial organizers of the Geração à Rasca protest created the 12 March Movement. This small group of young people gathered with other activists to create a movement with the objective to "Make every citizen a politician", a sentence from the Portuguese Nobel Prize José Saramago.[12] They promised to be an active voice promoting democracy in all areas of our lives".[13]

Over 80,000 people marched in Lisbon as part of a 15 October global day of protest against the usual suspects. Hundreds broke through a police cordon around the parliament in Lisbon to occupy its broad marble staircase, where a popular assembly took place.[14] About 20,000 people also rallied in Porto, Portugal's second biggest city.

The 12 March Movement, as others created after the Geração à Rasca protest, are still very active in several political and civic actions. After the demonstration "people discovered that they have 'a voice', they are more conscientious and more aware to political issues". Civil "society [is] more alive and awakened".[15]


  1. "Decenas de miles de portugueses se manifiestan contra la precariedad en la mayor concentración al margen de los partidos". Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  2. Sanches, Andreia (26 February 2011). "Um desempregado, um bolseiro e uma estagiária inventaram o Protesto da Geração à Rasca". Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2011.
  3. "Deolinda, o grupo que dá voz à "geração à rasca", presente "em consciência"". SIC Online. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
  4. "That Which Is Said By Not Saying: Deolinda’s Innocuous Revolution"
  5. "Homens da Luta aumentam adesões à 'Geração à Rasca' – Sol". Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  6. "Protesto Geração à Rasca juntou entre 160 e 280 mil pessoas só em Lisboa e Porto – Sociedade – PUBLICO.PT". Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  7. ""Geração à Rasca" convoca concentrações dentro da lei para dez cidades – Política – PUBLICO.PT". Retrieved 2011-06-09.
  8. "IOL Diário – "Geração à rasca": luta também em Barcelona". Retrieved 2011-03-13.
  9. ""Geração à rasca" é referência para Espanha – JN". Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  10. "Jovens do Rossio. Negociar a dívida, já!". Retrieved 2011-05-23.
  11. "Ao minuto: Sócrates pediu demissão e diz que vai a eleições – Política – PUBLICO. PT". Retrieved 2012-09-06.
  14. "Protesters in Lisbon surround parliament". Reuters. 15 October 2011.
  15. "Um ano depois, a geração à rasca deu lugar ao Portugal à rasca – i online". Retrieved 2012-09-06.


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