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Anti-oil drilling petition hand-delivered to parliament by Algarve activists

parliamentThe Algarve-based petition against oil exploration has been delivered to Parliament by ASMAA’s head activist Laurinda Seabra, alongside Aljezur mayor José Amaralinho (both pictured below) and supporters demonstrating in front of the Assembly building in Lisbon.

The urgency triggered by the Galp/ENI consortium bringing forward its drilling start date to July 1st has been firmly countered with a public petition completed by 4,670 people in record time, and a leaflet campaign that has gathered a further 22,000 signatures from across the Algarve.

The public petition, having gained in excess of 4,000 supporters, 50% of whom were from outside the Algarve region, now has to be debated in parliament with increasing levels of support of MPs across all most parties.

The driver behind the campaign, Laurinda Seabra from eco-organisation ASMAA has been campaigning alongside MALP, PALP and the Algarve’s mayors among other organisations and individuals.

All have called for the immediate suspension of the oil exploration and extraction contract about to start off the Aljezur coast, for a full environmental impact report, for full consultation and dialogue with the population with a desired end result of no oil or gas drilling in the Algarve at all.

All these organisations want the government to freeze the issue of any TUPEM drilling licenses, especially the one that Galp/ENI has applied for. They also want the immediate suspension of all the concession contracts that have been signed in suspicious circumstances with little discernible benefit to the public.

The government’s position is that these licences were legally issued and that it ‘only wants to see what reserves are out there.’

ASMAA’s petition is on behalf of those in the Algarve who do not want a regional oil and gas industry, so cannot see the point of looking for oil and gas if, as the government says, the whole exercise is only to find out what’s there - a claim that nobody believes.

Today’s protest and official delivery of the petitions is a proud day for activism in Portugal, for decades the country’s citizens were prevented from expressing opinions in public, let alone challenging the government on its stated policy.

The activists today were met by MPs from the Socialists, PAN, "The Greens", the Left Bloc and the Earth party and presented a petition that is diametrically opposed to government policy.

Heloisa Apolónia of The Greens said that the party supports the suspension of the contracts "in order to undertake a broad public debate."

Even Socialist Party MP Jamila Madeira said it was "important to evaluate" the situation and to do what is right for all concerned.

Laurinda Seabra delivered the large folders of signatures to representatives of the office of the President of the Assembly, Ferro Rodrigues and will now prepare for a demonstration on June 25th from 6pm outside Aljezur’s Igreja Nova, while travelling south this afternoon on the Aljezur battle bus.

Copy documentation also was delivered to the fuels body DGRM where Laurinda Seabra went inside to present the anti-oil protestors’ views on the government's proposed oil and gas industry.

Dark forces at work:

On top of the ASMAA website being hacked into this week in an attempt to disrupt the planning for today's event in Lisbon, the organisers discovered also that many of the seats booked on the special Aljezur to Lisbon coach were booked in the names of fictitious people, thus denying places to protestors who wanted to go on the coach but had been obliged to travel independently.

This sort of nonsense has characterised the behaviour to date of pro-oil interests which has been taken aback by the effective organisation of the anti-oil lobby.



Picture courtesy of Mari Roberts

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+1 #5 Poor Portugésa 2016-06-25 09:33
Muitos obrigados a Voce, tambem.
+3 #4 Mané Ajuda Nunes 2016-06-24 14:16
Foi uma honra e um gosto acompanhar-vos, como Cidadã Portuguesa e amante do Litoral, na defesa da nossa convicção comum de que nada de bom para as populações virá destas negociatas sinistras. Não queremos pesquisa de hidro-carbonetos no Algarve, nem em lugar nenhum de Portugal.
+2 #3 Poor Portugésa 2016-06-24 11:02
Hear, here, Peter.
Thank you also Laurinda and our intrepid 'Ed'.
+4 #2 Poor Portugésa 2016-06-24 10:55
Hear, here, Peter!
+6 #1 Peter Booker 2016-06-23 08:43
I think that Laurinda deserves our Algarvian thanks for a remarkably effective campaign. And I predict a short political career for Jamila Madeira, who has stepped out of line.

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