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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 16:21 GMT
Lisbon stunt offers comic relief
A billboard showing Paulo Portas, leader of the Popular Party in Lisbon
The stunt has added a colourful note to the general election
Clownish red stickers have appeared on the noses of the leaders of Portugal's political parties on large billboards ahead of next month's general election.

The stickers were first spotted last week, and have spread to posters across Lisbon's main avenues.

The Socialist Party was particularly crimson over a red nose stuck on an image of its leader outside party headquarters, next to a police station.

Police said they would monitor the posters in the run-up to the polls.

No political party has been spared.

Jose Socrates, leader of the main opposition Socialist Party, is standing for prime minister and has a commanding lead in opinion polls ahead of the 20 February election.

The red nose campaign appears to be coordinated and organised. A ladder would be needed to reach most of the party leaders' noses.

Lisbon police said they had no idea who was behind the stunt but were keeping a special watch on the billboards.

Billboards of the Social Democratic Party and the Popular Party also display new red stickers.

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