“We have an obligation to understand better, because other European countries have no tradition of emigration. How is it that we don't understand what others feel here?”, asked Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa in a class with secondary school students, in Olhão, days after the attack on a Nepalese immigrant, by a group of young people in the city.

The case is being investigated by the PSP, which has already identified some of those responsible.

Asked by journalists about what led him to promote this initiative shortly after the episode of violence, the President of the Republic replied: “It is precisely when it occurs, and that is why I was so quick, that these issues must be addressed. Because if it's three months, four months, five months, six months from now, reality becomes trivial. And by trivialising, what cannot be considered normal comes to be considered normal”.

Rejecting the idea that Portugal is a xenophobic country, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warned, however, of the need for societies to remain vigilant, so that fear and defensive attitudes towards immigration do not lead to xenophobic behaviour.

“[…] The aging of European societies has created what I call fear, a reactive, defensive attitude and, therefore, a rejection of difference, and from there xenophobia is a small step and one has to be attentive to that small step because it means less democracy and even less respect for what our experience as a country of emigrants is”, he underlined.

After class at Escola Secundária Dr. Francisco Fernandes Lopes, in Olhão, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa went to the restaurant where the young Nepalese person who was attacked on January 25 works.

A PSP source told Lusa that an investigation was underway to find out who were the perpetrators of the attacks and theft, who posted the video on social networks, and the circumstances in which they occurred.

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