Portuguese diva drowns out president

2012-10-17 18:33


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lisbon - Opera singer Ana Maria Pinto made headlines recently when she interrupted a speech by the Portuguese president by bursting into song - and has since become one of the best known faces of a protest movement which has no official leaders.

Rage at the government's relentless spending cuts turned violent this week, with demonstrators hurling rocks, bottles and apples at riot police in Lisbon.
And 31-year-old Pinto warns that these previously rare occurrences are on the increase.

"The governments of my country have long been corrupt, but this one is also fanatical [in its austerity drive]," says Pinto, whom one magazine dubbed The Warrior.

The singer spoke shortly after Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho's government presented a 2013 budget containing tax hikes which even Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar called "enormous".

No choice

Passos Coelho's austerity policies are aimed at meeting the conditions set by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, which granted Lisbon a bailout worth €78bn.

The government says it has no choice but to follow the instructions of the creditors, if it wants to avoid having to seek another bailout and to adopt even tougher budget cuts.

But Passos Coelho is now coming under criticism from nearly all quarters - the left-wing opposition, trade unions, church leaders, entrepreneurs and even members of his own centre-right Social Democratic Party (PSD).

The deficit targets contained in the budget are "absolutely unviable", said Manuela Ferreira Leite, a former finance minister and former PSD leader.

Strict austerity in a recession-hit country with a 16% unemployment rate will only paralyse the economy and plunge even more people into poverty, critics argue.

Participating in a television talk show this week, Pinto was invited to listen to the testimonies of a teacher whose pupils came hungry to class, and of people who had lost their homes to banks claiming mortgage payments.


"This government is not the solution, we are all convinced of that," she concludes.

However, the protest leader rejects violent demonstrations and calls for a "new Carnation Revolution."

She is referring to the almost bloodless uprising that toppled a decades-long dictatorship in 1974, ushering Portugal into democracy.

Many of the current protests are called anonymously over Facebook, where Pinto has created a group called Acordai (Wake up) - the name of an old Portuguese song that she sang at some of the protest rallies.


"The tale told by the government, that we, the people, have lived above our means" and helped to create a debt burden "is all manipulation", she fumes.

Yet despite her growing fame, Pinto wants to remain true to the anonymous nature of the protest movement she is part of, and rejects the idea of creating a political party.

"The sung word is pure and authentic," says the artist, who relies on singing as her main political weapon.

"I studied music to get to the people and to be close them. I am moved by truth, love and respect."


Read more on:    portugal

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Wednesday Wellington - 14:45 PM
    Road name: R44 Northbound
    ACCIDENT between Wellington and Hermon
  • Wednesday Newlands - 13:00 PM
    Road name: M3 Southbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC approaching the Newlands Avenue exit
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB

There are no straight lines in nature. The Samsung  GALAXY...

From R3525.00

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself fascinated by something which could draw you in to obsessively exploring this subject in depth....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.