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[POR] The years leading up to 1995


Vitória! Vitória!
May 7, 2019
Lisbon Communist Crisis


Agosto Vermelho (Red August), was a series of small communist incursions and uprisings that occurred on August 1 to 7, in Lisbon, Portugal. The event had culminated in the notable Lisbon Cathedral standoff, where government forces had to deal with a hostage situation within the Lisbon Cathedral. The event is considered as one of the country’s worst disasters and led for the declaration of the "1990 Constitution," which marked the transition fo the Old Government to the current Monarchist government.

From Modernpedia, the Free Modern Encyclopedia

On the morning of July 28, A radicalized communist paramilitary force, the “União Sindicalista de Portugal” has announced their condemnation on the current government and published the infamous “Manifesto de León,” containing a series of demands of a more authoritarian and communist government. On the following days, a series of gunfights erupted within Lisbon between local police and the radicalized militia. President Mario Soares then declared martial law on Lisbon on the 31st of July, in which most experts pinpoint the start of Portugal’s failed 1989 Communist Uprising.

On August 1, Syndicalist forces stormed and managed to occupy the Lisbon Cathedral, holding anyone inside hostage. The government has voiced out their approach and would ‘try their best to keep the structure intact.’ Around the same time, the Portuguese army had been deployed to quell the rebellion, and tanks were seen roaming around the streets of the capital. Syndicalist forces were hiding out on several strongholds, and violent firefights then erupted within the capital.

Lisbon Cathedral Standoff

As the sounds of skirmishes erupting engulfed Lisbon, two USP members had been witnessed to enter the church on 10 am, and fired 8 shots inside, wounding 2 Visitors and a Priest. They then announced that the church is under their control, and they ‘must follow their orders or they will be shot.’ It is then reported that 12 more rebels entered the church carrying equipment and the group’s flag. Police had arrived shortly after, still disorganized due to the nature of events, and refused to enter the church without military backup. The USP flag was then seen draped over one of the towers.

6 more syndicalist members attempted to break-in the encirclement, but were ultimately repelled, killing 4 of the rebels, although several policemen were injured. The Government remains silent as the standoff unfolds. At 4 pm, police had effectively isolated the Cathedral, and were setting up a perimeter around the structure. Two police officers were sent to initiate negotiations. Shortly after, elements of the 12th Infantry Battalion were deployed to asses the situation and were instructed to cooperate with Law enforcement to deal with the event.

At 8 pm, two USP members had opened the cathedral doors, holding a nun as hostage. They exclaimed their demands to the police, and instructed a deadline 12 midnight, where if not met, they would demolish the structure along with the people inside it. They claimed that they had rigged explosives inside the cathedral that would be ready to explode under their command. One of their demands was that they would be speaking to the President to enforce their ideology and manifesto. Police were hesitant to appease at first, but were forced to give in as the deadline inches closer.

Engineers of the 12th Infantry Battalion were sent near the back as negotiations were agreed upon, and were ordered to find a way to infiltrate and neutralize the bomb threat. Around 9 pm, Engineers had found a locked door that would be a viable point of entry. Squads were then informed about the situation and were getting ready to breach the Structure.

The President then arrived at around 10 pm, and was ready to initiate negotiations once again. This time, three members were sent out, one of them claiming to be the leader. They then read the Manifesto and their list of demands. As the USP members were busy with the negotiations, Elements of the 12th Infantry Battalion had broken in and managed to disable some of the explosives. They had made sure to find the hostages first before proceeding with eliminating the threat.

As the talks continued, a squad had discovered where they had hidden the hostages, quickly eliminating the guard stationed there. They then proceed with the evacuation of the victims, ensuring that they would be safe from the rebels. It was not long that the USP had noticed this however, and proclaimed that they would kill any hostages left. Unknown to Government forces, they had kept most of the visitors in a separate room, where they then executed the last remaining hostages. A brief gunfight then developed within the cathedral, killing most of the rebels.

Emergency services were then sent inside the Cathedral to assess the casualties and find anymore survivors. At around 12 am, they had announced that there were 18 dead and 10 wounded, 5 of which are in critical condition.

Lisbon Skirmishes

On August 4 to 7, small and several skirmishes were reported around the city of Lisbon, killing a total of 43 Civilian casualties. Police and Military forces were trying their best to minimize structural damage, but ultimately left a portion of the community damaged beyond repair. Fires then broke out around the same time, killing 12 people and injuring 23. Emergency services were struggling on controlling the situation. The military was quick to set-up checkpoints and undergo door-to-door operations.

The last remnants of the USP were killed and arrested on August 8, where rehabilitation efforts were initiated. Several reforms were initiated and international aid was requested. The city was placed under martial law until the Government lifted the declaration on August 22.


The government had released a statement addressing the event on the 10th of August, and called it ‘Our most grievous failure.’ A series of reforms were declared, and rehabilitation efforts had started. The Cathedral, along with several areas of the city, were closed off from the public, as reconstruction began. This led to most of the civilians without a job or a home.

Portuguese citizens were quick to protest on the Government’s actions. Streets were filled with banners describing the events. Workers were on strike for several weeks, and peaceful demonstrations were widespread. One of the most notable was of the Lisbon Nationalist Protest, which lasted from September to July of 1990.

The protests continued on until July 15, 1990, where the Government had completely reformed its structure and ideals under the current Monarchist Government.

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