The 36-year-old Russian speaker from Azerbaijan had confused the Portuguese words for “pomegranate” and “grenade” when trying to order a fruit juice. He had written a note trying to order the drink, but his language app had given him the wrong translation, reports The Telegraph.
The waiter read the note and, thinking that the man was making a threat about having a grenade, called the police.
Video uploaded onto the website of Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manha shows the man being handcuffed and arrested outside the restaurant shortly after the incident.
He can be seen being ordered to lie face down on the ground before five officers approach him and handcuff him.
The unnamed tourist was reportedly taken to a nearby police station for interrogation. He was later released after it was found he was not in possession of any weapons. His hotel room was also searched.
Officers later inspected the restaurant, with Lisbon police carrying out relevant searches of their databases and liaising with the country’s anti-terrorism units.
Police and anti-terror units are currently on high alert across Portugal after the government raised the terror threat from ‘moderate’ to ‘significant’ earlier in October. The move follows terror incidents in Belgium and France in the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The incident may have been caused by the similarity between the two words for “pomegranate” and “grenade” in Russian: “granat” and “granata”. However, the distinction between the two in Portuguese – “poma“ is the word for pomegranate and “grenada” the word for grenade – may not have come across in the translation app.