Representatives from SOS Ria Formosa, the pressure group opposing the demolition of houses on the Algarve’s barrier islands, yesterday (Wednesday, January 20th) delivered its petition to Parliament asking that the Socialist and left wing parties stick to their promises and halt the destruction of island homes.
Islander José Lezinho said that there had been personal assurances from the parties that the demolitions would be halted and that he had gone to Lisbon to make sure those promises would be fulfilled.
Wednesday January 20th is a key date in the unfolding history of the Ria Formosa islanders as protestors deliver a petition to Parliament signed by over 4,000 supporters.
The petition is in support of the historical, cultural, social and environmental life in the Ria Formosa islands which is threatened by the mass demolition by the State of properties lived in and used by the islanders.
A positive vote last night in a Faro council meeting has called for the sacking of the head of Polis Ria Formosa Society whose single minded insistence that 800 houses should be demolished on the barrier islands has seen laws being broken and family and community stability reduced to a trembling zero.
Polis president Sebastião Teixeira has overstepped the mark once too often and now even the vacilating Faro mayor Rogério Bacalhau has come out of the closet and supported his island constituents to the full.
Two Algarve mayors, one from the five councils that own 37% of the Ria Formosa Polis Litoral Society, and one from its Consultative Committee, have called for an Extraordinary General Meeting.
The Mayors of Vila Real de Santo António and of Faro, Luís Gomes and Rogerio Bacalhau formally have asked the Polis management to schedule the EGM 'as a matter of urgency.'
A crowd of 200 Ria Formosa islanders blocked a delegation from Polis and its Maritime Police escort from gaining access to the islands of Farol.
The Polis Litoral company, intent on continuing its work in demolishing 800 island homes on fallacious environmental grounds, again displayed its trademark arrogance by deciding to ignore last week’s Loulé court order that the demolition of 137 houses was suspended.
To join in the celebrations after last Friday’s court victory in Loulé, part of a desperate campaign to save their homes, the islanders of Farol were joined by a full ferry-load of supporters from the mainland and from the other threatened Ria Formosa islands.
Saturday was a double celebration – the anniversary of the April 25th revolution that saw an end to oppression and dictatorship, and the islanders’ ‘just in time’ court victory that ensured many threatened demolitions were suspeneded.
Loulé's Administrative and Fiscal Court this afternoon suspended the demolition process for 137 houses on the island of Farol in the Algarve’s Ria Formosa whose owners had been told to push off today or face being charged for the destruction of their properties.
Polis Litoral Ria Formosa had scheduled the next raft of demolitions for the 27th of April and the 6th of May but now are unable to proceed due to the court's decision which was taken after a detailed analysis of the petitions submitted by the island property owners.
Portugal’s Environment Minister, Jorge Moreira da Silva, assured anyone who would listen that no luxury tourism construction projects are in place for when the Algarve’s Ria Formosa islands have been cleared of houses.
Moreira da Silva reiterated that the process to demolish these properties was approved over ten years ago but gave no sensible reason why the work had not been done, with the Polis Ria Formosa society needing an extra year even to start the process.