The forcible possession of houses in the village of Hangares on the Ria Formosa island of Culatra, continued today amid more tension, anger and calls for the Minister of the Environment to stick to the promises he made in parliament.
Around 200 protestors were at times forcibly held back by 40 Maritime Police as locals and supporters gathered by those houses being spray-painted with a case number by five Polis Litoral staff to indicate that the property will be torn down.
Communications spokesman for the Maritime Police, Pedro Palma, said that people "complied with the instructions of the Maritime Police" even though the protestors managed to disrupt what the Hangares residents’ association leader called this “vicious process.”
In fact the Maritime Police had to manhandle several protestors: "There was more emotion in the air but it never came to physical violence" said Palma.
The staff from Polis Litoral Ria Formosa, intent on making indigent fishermen homeless and acting contrary to the undertaking made to parliament by the Minister of the Environment Jorge Matos Fernandes, managed incorrectly to mark some of the target properties and had to ask for help.
Polis managed to take administrative possession of 19 of the 24 houses on Hangars. In the coming days, two of these will have to be suspended due to court injunctions but the rest will be torn down.
The demolition of property in Farol and Hangares is expected to start in a month’s time with the minister still refusing to explain why he has gone back on his agreement in parliament that each property will be deal with on “a case by case basis” - something that has not happened, with the Left Bloc and Communist MPs seemingly unable to force the minister to halt the possession and demolition process.
These clearances are being pursued with a burning zeal by the government which, with a particularly virulent blend of nastiness and lies, has decided that the poor have no rights when big business is involved and the islands need tidying up before tourist developers can move in without the inconvenience of having to deal with unruly locals and their basic quality housing.
For many, this is a shameful as it gets in Portugal which shed its oppressive regime in 1974 to replace it with government's high-handed disregard for citizens, especially if they do not have the resources to fight back.
For a video record of the forced possessions in March 2017, (in Portuguese), see: https://youtu.be/oJRygCQZfB8