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Ria Formosa islanders in slow convoy of protest

ria formosa2A long convoy of cars departed from Olhão on Saturday morning, destination Faro beach in a protest against the demolition of houses on the Ria Formosa islands.

Islanders want to draw further attention to the actions of the government which through its agency Polis is demolishing 800 so called illegal island buildings.

The three kilometre convoy of 200 vehicles was monitored closely by dozens of PSP and GNR officers who kept the convoy moving along.

So far 212 properties have been destroyed on the islands, some of the houses were subject to court processes but were knocked down before the judges had decided the legality of doing so.

At Farol, 270 homeowners have to leave by the 24th of April or they will be charged for having their own properties knocked down, residents at Hangares have until May 11th to vacate 156 properties.

The police on this occasion did not have to intervene as they did last week at the town hall in Faro where protestors, fed up with waiting to talk to someone in charge, occupied the foyer and were roughly ejected by a swarm of officers.

The national Communist party have presented a draft resolution to parliament which requires the "recognition of the social, economic and cultural development of the urban centres of the Ria Formosa islands and the immediate suspension of demolitions of homes on Culatra, Hangares, Farol, the Ancão peninsula and islets.”

This resolution will be debated on April 10th but may well be defeated again as the ruling coalition seem determined to value rubbled strewn sand over voters' simple accommodation needs and livlihoods.

The islanders' protest will continue with a fishing boat convoy arranged for April 4th.

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