According to Público, the demonstrators are members of Resistência Nacional, a new group that gathers former members of the New Social Order, PNR (extreme right-wing Portuguese party) and Portugal Hammer Skins. Supporters of CHEGA, by André Ventura and elements linked to the football group 1143.
The demonstration was the most recent episode by the extremist movement against SOS Racismo, which accuses the participants of threats to physical integrity, moral offences and property damage and incitement to hatred and violence. Last month, the walls of the anti-racist association were vandalised with written sentences that say “War to the enemies of my land.”
Mamadou Ba, one of the SOS Racismo officials, confirmed to Público the demonstration and the vandalism.
On 12 August, Portuguese MPs were threatened by Resistência Nacional. The group demanded the politicians to abandon their political status and the country within 48 hours, otherwise “measures will be taken against these leaders and their families, to guarantee the security of the Portuguese people.” The threat was sent via email to the SOS Racismo association and contained a list of ten people’s names that should leave the country and abandon their political functions: Mariana Mortágua, Beatriz Gomes Dias, from Bloco de Esquerda (BE), and Joacine Katar Moreira, are some of the names included on the list.
To Público, Beatriz Gomes Dias commented that “This way of intimidation is serious, it is a crime and must be treated as such.”
According to Observador, in the email it is stated that August “will be a month of a fight against the nation’s traitors and their supporters (…) the anti-fascist and anti-racist leaders included in this list were given 48 hours to terminate their political functions and leave Portugal.”
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa stated, on 13 August, that “democrats must stay firm to their principles”. The President believes that zero tolerance must be applied for what is condemned by the Portuguese Constitution. Marcelo also appealed for common sense that can be used by the democrats by being “attentive to campaigns and escalations about sensitive issues in Portuguese society.”
The President of the Republican Assembly, Ferro Rodrigues, repudiated the threats directed at the deputies and activists, condemning the “racist and hate promoting acts.” In a message sent to Lusa, Ferro Rodrigues confirmed that he was aware of the threats, highlighting that this type of act may constitute a crime.
PJ went to the offices of SOS Racismo to conduct technical investigations and the left-wing party Bloco de Esquerda presented a complaint to the Public Ministry.
Since 2013, as read in Jornal de Notícias, the has PJ started to notice an increase in the activity from extremist organisations. The arrival of CHEGA (a right-wing party), opened the way for these groups to act, since the leader of the party, André Ventura, conducted demonstrations trying to prove that Portugal is not a racist country.
According to article 240 in the Portuguese Penal Code, creating organisations or propaganda activities aimed at racist behaviours and the participation in those are punishable from one to eight years in prison.