The president of Chega, André Ventura, addressed two letters to the Lisbon City Council and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in which he expresses the “intention to hold a demonstration in Lisbon, next Saturday 27 June, organised, calm and peaceful, fully complying with the rules of social distance and others that common sense dictates, in order to ensure the maximum safety of all participants”.
The protest, which aims to counter the idea that “Portugal is a racist country and that there is a problem of structural racism in society”, is scheduled for 2pm and will leave Marquês de Pombal towards Terreiro do Paço.
“We, Portuguese, proud of our country and our history - with all its defects and qualities; we Portuguese, who are not racists and who defend multicultural society with all their rights and duties, must go out and show that we refuse all the pejorative epithets that want to stick to us”, reads the message addressed to Fernando Medina and Eduardo Cabrita, to which Lusa had access.
The coordinating group of the demonstration had a "preparatory meeting" with the PSP, and a source from Chega told Lusa that about "1,500 people in total are expected".
Upon leaving the meeting with experts to assess the epidemiological situation of covid-19 in Portugal, at Infarmed, in Lisbon, the president of Chega confirmed the meeting, in which he was not present.
“Chega met with the Metropolitan Command of the PSP in Lisbon to define the conditions, the way in which the demonstration of next Saturday will take place in complete safety and normality,” André Ventura told reporters.
According to a source from Chega, the party pledged to make available to the Metropolitan Command of Lisbon of the PSP, by the end of the week, the number of people who will travel to Lisbon from other parts of the country, since the party's districts were mobilised to organise the movement to Lisbon of more demonstrators.
According to the same source, the PSP “did not put any obstacles at all” to the demonstration, even taking into account the restrictions of gatherings enacted by the Government due to the evolution of the pandemic of covid-19 in the Metropolitan Area of ??Lisbon.
Even so, advice was given to “keep your distance and be careful with posters that can be displayed, so that everything runs peacefully”, said the source, who was part of the Chega delegation at the meeting with the Lisbon Metropolitan Command of the PSP.
Despite "so far there is no concrete threat" in terms of "infiltrations of extremist groups in the demonstration", PSP said Chega is "monitoring everything that is being said, especially on social networks".
The leader of Chega had already told Lusa that volunteers will be present at the demonstration to distribute masks and disinfectant gel to those who do not have one.
On Monday, 22 June, after leaving a meeting with the President of the Republic, Ventura was confronted with the announcement that in the Metropolitan Area of ??Lisbon gatherings of more than ten people were forbidden again, and said that he would contact the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Prime Minister's office, António Costa, "to ensure that public health decisions are respected by Chega".
Defending that "health is always first", on that day the only deputy of Chega admitted that, if it is necessary to cancel Saturday's demonstration, it will be held later, in Lisbon or elsewhere in the country.