Guarda Nacional Republicana

(GNR)
   The Republican National Guard is Portugal's national highway and traffic police, and forms its rural and urban constabulary. A paramilitary force, it was established in 1911, under the First Republic, to protect the novice regime in the capital and other main cities. While it was recruited from the career army officer corps and noncommissioned ranks, the GNR was based on a historic precedent (the monarchy had a life guard with similar functions) and a political necessity (the need to be a deterrent and bulwark against threatening army insurrections) during a time of political instability. With increasingly heavy weaponry, a much enlarged GNR became a source of controversy as the First Republic ended and the military dictatorship was established (1926-33) and grew into the Estado Novo. The Estado Novo eventually reduced its strength, but maintained it as a reserve force that might confront a potentially unreliable army in the capital and main cities and towns. Since the Revolution of 25 April 1974, the GNR has been used as a kind of state police. Its personnel can be seen in their distinctive uniforms, dealing with highway safety, traffic, the drug problem, and serious crimes. While the main headquarters is at Carmo barracks (Carmo Square), Lisbon, where Prime Minister Marcello Caetano surrendered to the Armed Forces Movement on 25 April 25 1974, GNR detachments are found all over the country.

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

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