Cavaco Silva collapses

President Cavaco Silva collapses as hecklers disrupt Portugal Day speech

As many as 200 protesters chanting “Resign, resign” and waving banners proclaiming him to be a “Presidente Incompetente” proved too much for Cavaco Silva during this morning’s Portugal Day celebrations in front of the Armed Forces in Guarda.
The 74-year-old struggled to page two of his five-page speech and then simply crumpled up. He collapsed into the arms of rushing helpers and was carried off, chair-lift-style, to behind the podium where he was cared for by the on-duty doctor.
This was not the first time Cavaco Silva has fainted in difficult situations.
He also fainted in 1995 when handing over power to Socialist Prime Minister António Guterres.
This time, newscasters say there was no indication that anything was wrong with the President’s health.
“He had been in fine spirits for the first day of the celebrations,” said a TV commentator.
But Tuesday morning’s loud protests, which made it difficult for him to make himself heard, clearly took their toll.
As the president recovered in an army ambulance, General Pina Monteiro took to the stage and asked protesters to “show a little more respect”. President Cavaco Silva was on his way back in moments, said Monteiro.
As the crowds and assembled dignitaries waited in uncomfortable silence, Cavaco, flanked by security men, returned in a flurry and simply took up where he left off, on page two, giving no words of explanation, censure or any other comments.
Intriguingly, his return saw protesters remain silent.
Talking to newsmen afterwards, union leader Francisco Almeida said it was unfortunate that Cavaco Silva had reacted the way he did, but protests, by their nature, had to create noise.
“This is a demonstration of the discontent felt within the country,” he told a journalist. “And there will be more of them in the future. I hope nothing is wrong with the president, with regard to his health – but the policies of this country have to change.”