On the 25th of April of 2007, an anti-authoritarian demonstration against fascism and capitalism took place in downtown Lisbon, protesting against the growing influence of fascist groups in Portugal and the attempt to rehabilitate the figure of the former dictator, António de Oliveira Salazar. Several books about Salazar came out back then and a Museum was to be opened in Santa Comba Dão, the place where the dictator was born. A television contest, designed to boost nationalistic and chauvinistic attitudes among the Portuguese people, actually managed to elect Salazar as “the greatest Portuguese of all times”. Besides that, PNR, an ultra right-wing party, involved with nazi skinhead groups, started to show signs of great activity, with a large-scale campaign to increase xenophobia and several street demonstrations, one of which taking place, provocatively, in a known immigrants' quarter downtown Lisbon.
As a response to the growth of reactionary forces and attitudes in Portuguese society, anarchists organized a big demonstration on the day of the celebration of the Carnation Revolution, the 25th of April, when the fascist dictatorship was overthrown. The demonstration gathered over 500 people, crossed downtown Lisbon, always being closely followed by the police, and halted in Largo de Camões, where most people left. From there, a second demonstration started and, when the demonstrators were descending Rua do Carmo, the riot police closed the street exits, trapped them, and then charged violently. Several people were injured, some of them badly, and 11 of the demonstrators were arrested and now stand for trial, for alleged civil disobedience, verbal abuses, and assault on police officers, risking sentences from six months to five years of imprisonment.
We ask for the international support and solidarity of all sections and friend of AIT-IWA to spread the news of what's happening, specially among Portuguese communities in their area, and send protest letters, faxes and emails to local Portuguese Embassies, Consulates and interests, performing, if possible, actions in front of them, specially on the days of the Court hearings, but not limited to them. We also appeal to the sending of protest letters, faxes and emails to the Court where the hearings are taking place.
A model protest letter to be sent: (it's both in English and Portuguese)
Vimos por meio da presente carta protestar contra a ida a julgamento dos 11 detidos aquando da realização da manifestação anti-autoritária contra o fascismo e o capitalismo, em 25 de Abril de 2007. Denunciamos o comportamento claramente ofensivo e discriminatório demonstrado pela polícia no decorrer dos acontecimentos, assim como a brutalidade com que a mesma reagiu à manifestação, carregando indiscriminadamente sobre os manifestantes e demais transeuntes presentes na Rua do Carmo, numa acção cujo objectivo manifesto não foi a dispersão da manifestação, mas antes o espancamento do maior número de pessoas possível, posto que todas as saídas da rua foram cortadas pela polícia de forma a não deixar aos manifestantes fuga possível.
Afigura-se-nos que as pessoas detidas o foram de forma aleatória e arbitrária, e que a sua ida a tribunal não serve outro propósito que não seja o de mascarar e ilibar a violência policial, culpando os manifestantes pelo sucedido. Consequentemente, exigimos o encerramento deste processo e a absolvição de todos os arguidos.
Com os melhores cumprimentos,
English translation of the letter:
We hereby send you the following letter to protest against the trial of the 11 persons arrested during the anti-authoritarian demonstration against fascism and capitalism, which took place on the 25th of April 2007.
We denounce the clearly offensive and discriminatory behavior displayed by the police during the events and its brutal response to the demonstration, charging indiscriminately on demonstrators and bystanders at Rua do Carmo, in an action clearly intended, not to disband the demonstration, but to beat up as many people as possible, for all the street exits were cut off by the police in order to trap the demonstrators and let them no way to escape.
For us, it seems that the persons arrested during the events were picked randomly and arbitrarily among the demonstrators, and that the charges pressed against them serve no other purpose than to whitewash the police violence, blaming the demonstrators for what happened. Consequently, we demand the closure of this process and the acquittal of all defendants.
1º Juízo Criminal
Av. D. João II, nº 1.08.01 - Bloco B
Email: email@example.com Phone: (+351) 213 505 500 Fax: (+351) 211 545 164
Process Number: 42/07.5PALSB (please mention it on the letters, faxes and emails you send to the Court)
A list of Portuguese Embassies worldwide:
Portuguese Consulates abroad:
Days of the next Court hearings:
- 20 of April - 29 of April - 19 of May
Associação Internacional dos Trabalhadores
Tel. +351 963 216 840
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.ait-sp.blogspot.com/ http://www.freewebs.com/ait-sp/