"What we wanted was parking and it was given. We wanted the overnight stay and it was given, although we think 48 hours is too little, I think it should be 72 hours, and the part of being in the 'same municipality' is also too much, but it is not enough to go ahead with a demonstration," said Elisabete Desidério, administrator of the Grupo Viver numa Autocaravana.PT and one of the promoters of the demonstration in Lisbon, speaking to Lusa news agency.
The parliament approved, with the votes against of PCP and PEV, changes to the regime of parking and parking of motorhomes inscribed in the Highway Code, namely articles 48 and 50-A, deciding that outside the protected areas is allowed to stay overnight "for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality.
The law was approved with PCP and PEV voting against, BE, PAN, IL and CH abstaining and the remaining parliamentary benches voting in favour.
After the approval of the diploma by the Parliament, "lacking only to be promulgated by the President of the Republic and published, which is believed to be materialised", the organisation of the demonstration of motor caravanners decided to cancel the protest.
"We believe that the necessary and justifiable arguments for the continuation of this event are not gathered, because in its essence we believe that the object of our claims have been achieved to a large extent, being cancelled from this moment on", communicated the organisation, in a note published in the announcement of the demonstration on the social network Facebook.
Considering that the approved diploma "is not ideal", Elisabete Desidério said that the motor caravanners will be attentive to the unfolding of the process: "Any change, we will fight again".
The demonstration was initially called to contest article 50-A regarding the prohibition to stay overnight outside the places expressly authorized for that purpose, "creating a discrimination against other vehicles, an attack to road safety and to the freedom and guarantees of citizens", indicated the organisation of the protest.
The protest of motor caravanners led to the presentation of four bills by PCP, PEV, BE and PSD to change the regime of parking and parking of motor caravans, an issue that was discussed in the parliamentary committee of Economy, Innovation, Public Works and Housing and that, after an indicative vote of the legislative initiatives, resulted in the presentation of a replacement text, a diploma that was approved on 22 July in a final overall vote.
Before the final approval, the motor-caravanners complained about the amendments proposed to article 48, prohibiting the parking in the Natura 2000 Network, protected landscape areas and areas covered by the Coastal Zone Management Plans, outside the authorised places, as they interpreted as "discrimination against other types of vehicles", but the situation was resolved after it was added to the text that the prohibition would only be "outside the authorised places for parking vehicles".
The motor-caravanners disagree with the overnight stay "for a maximum period of 48 hours in the same municipality", defending that "72 hours would be more sensible, mainly in larger municipalities and with a greater amount of interests to visit or even in places where the annual festivities of these regions exceed two days".
The organisation of the protest is also aware of an issue that they consider "unconstitutional", which is the diploma stating that "the Government may promote the regularisation of the authorisation for parking and overnight stays [...] subject to daily registration in a free electronic platform that will validate the geolocation and keep this record for a maximum period of 60 days".
In force since January, the regime of parking and parking of motor caravans inscribed in the Highway Code has been contested by the representatives of motor caravanners, namely by the prohibition of overnight stay of motor caravans outside the authorised places.