A Line in the Sand is based on the factual events of September 28, 1974, and the lead up to it. The President of the Republic, General António de Spínola, attempted to assume personal power over the emergent Portuguese democracy following the overthrow of fascism just five months earlier.
Of course, he was not acting alone in calling for multitudes of people to flood Lisbon, the capital city, from all over the country (free transportation and tickets to the soccer game provided by the government!) with the demand to end parliamentary democracy and hand over extraordinary powers to a single military officer and put an end to “communism” and “anarchy.”
Behind him were the same powerful forces in politics, industry, agriculture, business, the financial sector, the media, and sectors tied to the colonial economy and to NATO that had backed the fascist state for almost 50 years. The Portuguese Communist Party, with its allies in the labor movement, organized massive brigades to nonviolently block the bridges and roadways leading into Lisbon. A Line in the Sand is that story.