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.
The Socialist proposal will be discussed on Wednesday in the Parliamentary Committee on the Environment, and will be voted on this Friday, alongside a similar proposal from the Communist Party submitted last week.
According to Algarve Socialist MPs, the draft resolution “is based on the right to housing and the principle of equality and has a precondition, an immediate halt to the demolitions on the islands."
The petition urges the Government to "profoundly reflect on the activities planned for the Ria Formosa islands and the consequences for their populations, and suspend with immediate effect all pending demolition of houses until people are assured they are being treated equally and that they have the right to housing."
The Socialists argue that the demolition process that already is underway on Ramalhete, Cobra, Coco, Altura, S. Lourenço and Deserta in the Ria Formosa and on the Ancão Peninsula (Faro Beach) and which involves hundreds of buildings, raises "huge doubts as to fair and equitable treatment by the State.”
The proposal also recommends that there be a review of demolition priorities and an engagement with the locals, councils and local organisations through a process that respects their ‘environmental citizenship.’
The Socialist MPs want also to make sure that "the planned and scheduled operations of Polis Litoral Ria Formosa safeguard the constitutional rights to housing, the environment and the quality of life based on clear and transparent principles and contributes to safeguarding the public interest.”
Olhão council has asked for the revision of the area plan and an immediate suspension of demolitions. The mayor António Pina refers to the historical origin of the island people and the accrued residential rights for fishermen, shellfishermen and their descendants.
The mayor also called for the long overdue dredging to be carried out so the islands can "become a vehicle for sustainable development of the populations and the environment by allowing safe navigation in the inland waters of the Ria Formosa and to help the hydrodynamics of the ecosystem recover."
The mayor, an expert in sensing public opinion and making it look like his idea, now has the backing of everyone involved in islanders’ rights and in the suspension of the demolitions.
"You have to find other solutions. There are other priorities," commented Pina.
A petition now has been launched on Avaaz: