Protestors in Portugal join “Black Lives Matter” marches

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 12-06-2020 01:00:00 · 13 Comments

Thousands of protestors filled the streets in Lisbon, Porto, Braga, Coimbra and Viseu last weekend to take part in “Black Lives Matter” marches.

In Lisbon, more than 5,000 people took part in the peaceful demonstration which took place over two and a half hours as protestors travelled from the Almada area to Praça Comércio.


With drums setting the pace, the most heard shout of protest was “Black Lives Matter”, but the posters that many held up had hundreds of other messages including “I don’t want to be afraid of PSP”, “stop killing us”, “this is not an American movie” and “laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour”.


“We are saturated,” Catarina Gomes, 34, told Lusa news agency, before the beginning of the demonstration, explaining that black people “continue to experience racism in various everyday situations”, even in Portugal.


“There is more and more intolerance, people are frustrated, often for economic reasons, and start to be intolerant,” she added.
Several PSP agents ‘paved the way’ for the protesters and, although one of the reasons of the demonstration was against police violence, at no time were there any inappropriate gestures against the police.


For Valentina, 17, this was her first demonstration against racism and she decided to take to the streets because there are people who were not born “privileged” like her.


“In Portugal there is clearly racism”, she said, arguing that for her “everyone deserves the same rights”.


“They deserve to study just like us, they are judged by colour and it shouldn’t be like that”, she added.


As the demonstrators passed by the BE headquarters, the protestors saluted the blockade coordinator, Catarina Martins, with applause and shouts of “the united people will never be defeated”.


From the building’s balcony, Catarina Martins waved and clapped her hands.


Among other BE leaders, MP Beatriz Gomes Dias was also at the demonstration because the fight against racism is not a party issue, “but a question of citizenship, of people’s rights”.

Meanwhile in Coimbra, hundreds of people took to the streets in protest.


George Floyd’s death is “the turning point, the rupture, the change” and “today this protest is a tribute to all the victims” of racism and oppression, said Leonardo Botelho, one of the organizers of the initiative in Coimbra.


“On this day we say enough” appealed the student from the Faculty of Law of Coimbra, during his intervention in the demonstration. “It is not enough that we are not racists, we must be anti-racists”.


Racism is “a problem for the whole world and not just for one country”, stressed Madalena Bondzi, also from the organisation of the demonstration, which, she acknowledged, brought together “many more people” than she anticipated.


In Porto, over a thousand protesters demonstrated against racism and precarious work situations.


Joana Cabral, leader of SOS Racismo told Lusa that the demonstrations are to protest against what happened in the USA, but also “against what is happening in Brazil, in Portugal, in Viseu in Lisbon, Amadora and Porto”.


“We cannot forget that this story about George Floyd does not make him the last victim. We all have to get out of our comfort zone”, she said, stating that the two demonstrations in Porto came together because “they bring together people who come to fight for causes that are apparently more private, but that, deep down, we easily understand that they are part of the same struggle”.


She added: “It is against racism, against capitalism and against job insecurity. It is necessary to remember that a significant part of people who ensured a significant part of the work that kept society functioning during quarantine are, in many cases, people belonging to vulnerable, and often, poor racial ethnic groups”.


From the organisation of the “Rescue the future” march, Raquel Azevedo, leader of Precários Inflexíveis, explained to Lusa that the intention is, above all, “to fight for new choices, more equal rights, to demand a job with rights and to ensure that those most affected by this pandemic crisis have the social protection that is due to them”.


“We do not want to see a second crisis in our lives again and, therefore, we want to be part of a solution that allows combating unemployment, exploitation and precariousness”, she added.


Following the demonstrations the Association of GNR Professionals (APG / GNR) has demanded the determination of responsibilities in relation to the demonstrators who showed messages during the protests that “incited hatred against the police”, condemning such behaviour.


“APG / GNR repudiates the behaviour of some demonstrators who displayed posters that said ‘good police are dead police’ and who, in an absolutely deplorable way, tried to use a protest action with valid reasons to incite hatred against the security forces”, said the association.


The statement continued: “Understanding that the theme of racism is pertinent and that it even takes on a fracturing character in some societies, under no circumstances can it serve to promote what it claims to combat, namely hatred and violence, in this case against the police”.


For the APG, the promotion of hatred against the police “does not answer the question of racism as it promotes violence”, provoking “the greatest indignation” in a context in which “law enforcement officers are frequently beaten on duty”.



Comments:

It’s ironic that Portuguese slaver traders started the transatlantic slave trade 500 years ago in 1519 in Brazil and continued to import black lives to Brazil and the Caribbean for centuries yet that contribution is not being recognized

By Peter from USA on 20-06-2020 05:11

NO DOUBT, THERE IS RACISM EVERYWHERE. WHAT WE ARE TALKING ABOUT IS POLICE BRUTALITY WHICH PORTUGAL AND THE REST OF EUROPE DO NOT HAVE. WE MUST LEARN TO ACCOMMODATE EACH OTHER, AS TO LIVE PEACEFULLY WHICH I BELIEVE AMERICANS LACK DUE TO INDIVIDUALISM AND CAPITALISM. THERE IS NOTHING LIKE LIFE, NOBODY CAN CREATE IT HENCE DON'T DESTROY IT.

By PRINCE AWODIKE from Lisbon on 18-06-2020 06:12

I do not agree with Kari, Billy & Adam.
If the Status Quo suits you, lucky, but most people on the planet don't see it that way.

623 US citizens are billionaires, TWO of them are Black!
If Racism is fictious, so are women fighting for equlity and the end to Genital Mutilation,. So are homeless people, refugees, people with disabilities, etc, etc.

Question for PSP, APG & GNR..... why did you join?
Military clad/tooled security people do not advocate help and assistance. They instill fear and doubt. Customer Care Course?
Extreme view?
In 2017....8 Men own more than 3700000000 people. That's Extreme and Disgusting.
Racism is the first of many problems we need to look at for a long time.

Love Steve

By Love Steve from Alentejo on 13-06-2020 08:11

As an American living in Coimbra I am surprised to see the comments above. I’m not sure why people on this side of the ocean feel the need to criticize or judge a movement taking place in the USA. Without a proper understanding of race relations in that country it is impossible to form intelligent conclusions.
In respect to the comment about why should we care if a criminal dies at the hand of the police, are you serious? That is a human rights issue, not merely a race issue.
Please contact me if you sincerely want more information and to be better informed about what is happening.
In regards to Portugal, racism exists everywhere. Right now the spotlight is on America, and justifiably so. We, as Americans have earned it. There is no shame in being white or guilt in being born any certain color, but there is unquestionably advantages given to some due to the social system and how it operates.

By Michael Gerecke from Other on 12-06-2020 07:26

As a citizen, resident, and born in the USA, when I was in Lisbon I only noticed the rare instance of personal bigotry, but neither the systematic nor structural White supremacy as is palpable in the USA, Britain, France, and many other countries. I am sure there is structural racism in Portugal, if only because Portugal is part of a world system of exploitation with its attendant racism and sexism. Today in the world, there are only two significant racial categories: White and non-White; and it is definitely not about skin color. White supremacy is about exploitation and power, regardless of the hue of one's skin.

By Geoffrey Skoll from USA on 12-06-2020 06:34

Black lives Matter, can anyone seriously suggest that we do not live in a society which is racist! By every measure of equality or inclusion BAME people are discriminated against.
At every level of society BAME people are under represented . They have every right to point this out .
The right to peacefully demonstrate is the cornerstone of a democratic society.
Of course all lives matter, but racism is a particularly damaging prejudice that blights the lives of millions of people. Black Lives Mattter

By chris from Other on 12-06-2020 06:27

There is not one BLack face in the picture, nor in the majority of protesters here and in the other countries. Do these white middle class "know it alls" really understand racism. ALL LIVES MATTER. South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa once stated, “There are no Farm Killing” this is an exaggerated lie. There have been hundreds of White Farmers murdered and brutally tortured by Black men.

By Ian from Other on 12-06-2020 05:55

Protesters are misusing "Black Lives Matter" if they don't name thier protest movement "All Lives Matter". Racism is not just a matter of skin color.

By Ole Jensen from Algarve on 12-06-2020 04:55

Shame that this has attracted a couple of intolerant comments. It's particularly shameful to imply that Floyd somehow deserved his fate because of his character. Simply nobody deserves to be murdered by the Police. Of course it's completely unacceptable for the Police to be targeted by protesters; we know that these events always attract an extreme fringe but they are a tiny minority and should not be used to detract from the proper concerns being expressed. The more general comments questioning the existence of institutional racism simply reveal a denial of truth by the contributors; institutional racism is an established fact, rooted in the history of slavery and colonialism. Portugal itself has done relatively well in terms of integration but we cannot ignore the reality of racism still experienced by BAME communities and individuals in their daily lives.

By Felix Ansell from UK on 12-06-2020 04:47

I agree with both of the recent comments! The slogan is inappropriate as black people are not the only people who have experienced racism. This also insinuates that other lives do not matter and therefore could be construed as a racist slogan. Imagine if Caucasians did a peaceful protest with the slogan " white lives matter" Everyone and their mother would be up in arms because it would be considered racist. Also, George Floyd was a criminal, why should he be honored with anything. All lives matter s the only appropriate slogan. This must also include unborn children which many " lefties" do not think worthy of life. Another note, any provocative action towards police, the vast majority are good law abiding citizens is utterly disgusting and they should defend themselves. Police brutality is wrong obviously, but so is citizen brutality. . Let us hope that we do not go the route of some US cities who are considering getting rid of or de-funding their police forces. By all means, let anarchy reignit is sure better then law and order...

By Adam Parker from Lisbon on 12-06-2020 04:36

I love the picture with this article. Such diversity! Do they even know what they are marching for or against, other than a hashtag with which they can associate (until the next hashtag moment)?

By John from USA on 12-06-2020 03:50

You don't fight racism by being racist, which is what these protestors are. Floyd was killed by police brutality, it's not certain his race played any part in it. Racism affects people of all races, not just blacks, so the slogan is inappropriate and it should be that ALL lives matter.
The protestors appear not to want to acknowledge that Floyd held a gun to a pregnant women's head while she was being robbed. He is no hero, but a common criminal, something that cannot conveniently be overlooked.
No-one needs lessons in morality from this mob of self-entitled, virtue-signalling lefties ashamed of their own colour.

By Billy Bissett from Porto on 12-06-2020 03:29

Any answer for any imagined or real racism or racist violence can not justifiably be to incite racism or violence against the police or white people in general.
Let there be clear arguments based on which different societies can make improvements based on their truthfully assessed particular needs and local circumstances.
If there is a reasonable case to be heard that there is a problem of racism and racist policies or actions, let it be reasonably argued. Before such reasonable arguments are heard, which I have not heard, I do not understand a valid reason for these protest at all, even if they are peaceful.

By Kari Lehto from Other on 12-06-2020 06:45
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