In the complaint delivered to the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, and the Ombudsman, to which Lusa had access, the Associação ProPública – Direito e Cidadania highlights “the almost universal requirement of prior scheduling, by telephone or by electronic means, for a citizen to be received in any public administration service”.

However, this requirement, they claim, violates the constitutional right of “effective, free, and direct access to public services without the need for appointment”.

In other words, “the right of individuals to accessible, expeditious and non-discriminatory public services has been violated for more than a year and a half”.

According to the private association that fights for the legal defense of the public interest, “the alternative means of care that have been perpetuated violate constitutional guarantees”, expressed in articles 266 and 267, and “affect the general well-being of people and communities”.

Booking in advance for face-to-face service in public services was part of the measures to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, but it was “only legally justified by virtue of the state of emergency”, explains ProPública.

Portugal has not been in a state of emergency since April 30, 2021, and the ensuing state of alert ended on September 30.