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Portugal military chief resigns

Published on 08/04/2016

Portugal's armed forces chief General Carlos Jeronimo resigned late Thursday, the presidency said, days after being summoned to explain comments about gay soldiers made by the deputy head of the military college.

President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa had accepted the resignation of Jeronimo, who took up the post of chief of staff in 2014, the presidency said in a statement.

The resignation comes after Antonio Grilo, deputy head of the military college, admitted advising parents of young military students in the Portuguese army to withdraw their sons if they were gay “to protect them from the other students”.

Defence Minister Azeredo Lopes summoned the general on Tuesday to explain the statements.

Lopes said the defence ministry considered any discrimination “absolutely unacceptable”.

Jeronimo is the third head of the armed forces to resign since the early 1990s, following the departure of General Jose Loureiro dos Santos in 1998 and General Silva Viegas in 2003.