First of May

   An important holiday for organized labor, and a Labor Day for many countries in Europe, among them Portugal. Traditionally, beginning in the last decades of the monarchy, this was a day when labor groups, including unions of laborers, would demonstrate and commemorate European Labor Day in Portugal. When trade unions were given legal status during the First Republic, the First of May was a day during which labor openly organized demonstrations of solidarity and strength. During the Estado Novo, when traditional unions did not enjoy legal status but were required to be part of official labor syndicates in the corporatist system, May First was a day when labor challenged the regime's labor policies and its control of the streets. An important test of democratic Portugal occurred on 1 May 1974, following the Revolution of 25 April 1974. Freedom to celebrate that labor holiday was present, but some observers feared violence, disorder, and confusion as long-repressed forces of labor emerged in the streets. That May First celebration, however, went smoothly; media estimates were that 1 million Portuguese marched in the capital's streets peacefully that day.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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