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Parliament votes for continued demolition of Ria Formosa islanders' homes

culatraPortugal’s parliament today voted for the continuation of the demolition of 800 properties on the Algarve's Ria Formosa islands, but not before a group of islanders in the public gallery disrupted proceedings and were ejected.

The last ditch petition by opposition parties asked for the suspension of the demolition programme to take the heat out of the controversial programme that already has seen the destruction of around 200 properties resulting in homelessness and despair.

The coalition, as widely expected, voted in favour of the continued destruction of property under the guise of ‘renaturisation’ despite powerful, well constructed, eloquent and ultimately futile speeches from Algarve MPs in support of the islanders’ rights and of the economic activities that bind the islanders as a community and provides fish and shellfish for the Algarve’s restaurant and export trade.

The 300 protestors in the public gallery, part of the four busloads of protestors that left the Algarve early this morning, caused an outbreak of bad manners among MPs with the PSD MPs claiming that they felt “insulted” by the noisy protest and the speaker Assunção Esteves demanding the gallery be cleared.

Chants of "The islanders, united, will never be defeated" did nothing to improve Esteves’ mood as she stated with palpable irritation, “This is Parliament, not the street. Do please remove people from of the galleries."

There is a glimmer of hope for Culatra’s residents as the settlement may be categorised as lying outside the demolition zone for the Polis Ria Formosa contractors, but this is by no means certain.

What is certain is that in the background the government has approved an application to re-classify the Ria Formosa area so as to introduce 'quality tourism' which most islanders believe means up market tourist developments to replace their homes.

The proposal urged the Government to halt demolitions, to dredge the choked waterways around the island network and to address the obvious sources of pollution from sewage which runs into the Ria Formosa lagoon at 31 points.

All proposals were rejected confirming the local opinion that the current government is pro-sewage, pro-homelessness, pro-demolition of private property and is firmly against anyone living on the islands as many families have done for generations.

The next round of demolitions is due to start on Farol on a day chosen for its impact - Dia da Liberdade.

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+1 #6 dadiv Divad 2015-04-25 00:44
I saw the picture of the island and thought it could not be, those dwelling being the ones to the right as you have crossed the ridge onto the island. This is a terrible thing to befall these people who fought tremendeous poverty and deprivation to eek out a living!! First time I was there was 94 and I found it to be a lovely quiet place.
0 #5 king joca 2015-04-12 23:24
I have contacted amnesty international. To help the fight. This is outrageous
+1 #4 Selma Nunes 2015-04-12 23:21
What? Once upon a time there was an arms dump that belonged to the Portuguese Navy in I World War. It's not there any more. That is only a historical reference. The core question here is not if there is or not ammo in the island, or if the machinery is going to blow. The central question is that people will have their homes destroyed.
-2 #3 Ed 2015-04-10 19:39
Quoting Pedro F:
Is there truth over an arms dump on the islands from before the revolution? This might be a worry for the machinary operator? There was explosives in a Olhao house from this period.

There was a huge cache of ammunition found in an old house in Rua Vasco da Gama, central Olhao, about 4 years ago. The army took away grenades, boxes of TNT, bullets and missiles. It was all hidden, presumably in the '60s or '70s, in a stables at the rear of the property which then was abandoned until a new owner discovered the highly unstable horde and called the authorities. I have no knowledge of a similar dump on the islands.
-3 #2 Pedro F 2015-04-10 19:34
Is there truth over an arms dump on the islands from before the revolution? This might be a worry for the machinary operator? There was explosives in a Olhao house from this period.
+7 #1 Mr Hoover 2015-04-10 19:08
Totally disgraceful...

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