The coalition government today kicked out three draft resolutions from opposition parties that aimed to suspend the demolition of properties on the Algarve’s Ria Formosa islands and to take some account of those islanders affected.
About 200 hundred protestors from the islands mounted a protest in front of parliament as MPs voted to continue the demolition of their homes, the others entered parliament to listen to the debate.
Ten coaches carrying nearly 500 Ria Formosa islanders will depart early on Friday morning - destination Parliament - so that MPs and Ministers can see the people who are affected by their decisions.
The protestors, many of whom already have lost their homes, are going to watch the parliamentary debate which is based on resolutions from the Communist, Socialist and Left Bloc parties which call for a suspension of the ‘social terrorism’ that has already seen many island homes razed to the ground.
The association ‘Almargem’ already has publicly expressed its disagreement with the way the house demolition operation was planned for the Ria Formosa islands.
At Faro Beach the more modest houses have been demolished and the 2 and 3 floor buildings have been left standing, which makes no sense from an environmental point of view.
Socialist Party MPs have joined the groundswell of opinion that the demolitions on the Ria Formosa islands should immediately be halted.
The Socialists have joined the Communist party and have presented a draft resolution to parliament which asks the Government to suspend the demolitions in the Ria Formosa islands and demands a guarantee that the demolition programme that is being carried out by Polis Ria Formosa respects "the principle of equality" and hosues those that have been made homeless.
Loulé’s Administrative Court has refused an application by the Polis Litoral Ria Formosa company for its contractors to move forward with the demolition of allegedly illegal houses on Faro island.
Various individual lawsuits from property owners must be heard and judged before Polis can continue, or not, to knock down the properties. Despite knowing this ruling, Polis has continued to demolish properties on Faro island and other of the Ria Formosa islands, including Coco island, in recent days with some properties being broken into and flattened without the necessary court orders having been served.
The stakes are high for the Ria Formosa islanders whose objections to forcibly being moved from their homes already have transformed into emotionally charged demonstration.
Yesterday’s report that the Minister of Environment Jorge Moreira da Silva had suspended demolitions planned for the centre of Culatra island gave the islanders a welcome boost.(* see below for link)
The planned demolitions for the centre of Culatra, one of the Ria Formosa islands, have been shelved, according to the Minister of Environment Jorge Moreira da Silva.
The Coastal Zone Management Plan will now include an exception and the Sociedade Polis Litoral Ria Formosa will instruct its contractors not to procede as the properties at the centre of Culatra are to be legalised, according to the minister.
The estimated 800 demolitions planned on the Ria Formosa islands continue to provoke strong protests from those being made homeless.
After hundreds attended a protest meeting last month in the municipal auditorium in Olhão, with the support of members of the Socialist and Communist parties, this Wednesday the deputy Minister for Regional Development, Miguel Poiares Maduro, was greeted on arrival at Faro’s 'Teatro das Figuras' by noisy and upset protestors.