Environment minister dodges anti-oil protestors in Faro
Given ample warning that his visit to the CCDR HQ in Faro would be met by anti-oil protestors, environment minister João Pedro Matos Fernandes appears to have changed his plans.
At the ‘last minute’ yesterday (Tuesday), banner-waving demonstrators realised he wasn’t coming.
The reiterated call for the minister’s resignation was still on everybody’s lips, with some saying perhaps he has already been dismissed “but doesn’t know it”.
Whatever the reasons for the ministerial vanishing act, the Algarve’s resolve to keep fighting against the looming threat of test drilling is forging ahead with new fixtures.
Tomorrow evening in Faro, the platform of NGOs and environmental groups PALP will be presenting another ‘information’ session, from 6.30pm at the Sociedade Recreativa Artística Farense “Os Artistas” to which already over 259 people have said they are going.
Then next month, when the sun should finally be blazing and tourists will be in the water and on their beach towels, activists are planning a country-wide protest to be led by surfers and body-boarders backed by swimmers and lifeguards.
The idea is for a 20-minute ‘human chain’ to line every beach from 3pm on Saturday July 7.
All people have to do to take part is get to their nearest beach and join the line – preferably with a black cross painted on their foreheads “by way of protest”.
The event is being organised over Facebook by surfers supporting the group: “Petróleo á má onda” (Oil is a bad wave).
The objective, says the group, is to “claim the sea as a space for everyone, and contest hydrocarbon exploration promoted by the Portuguese State which is ploughing ahead against sense, against the opinion of its populations and without environmental studies”.
Social media pages PALP, MALP and ASMAA will be promoting this and other initiatives throughout the summer.
Meantime, up in Lisbon, an initiative led by a private citizen means to stake out the Ministry of the Environment from tomorrow.
Graça Passos describes herself as a “conscious citizen”. A one-time member of Tavira em Transição (due to a home she has in São Brás de Alportel), Graça means to demonstrate against the government’s erosion of Article 66 of the Constitution, which states that every Portuguese citizen has the right to a healthy, balanced environment.
Writing over Facebook, she says the ministry of the environment is failing to carry out its duties to protect natural resources “which belong to us all”.
It is time for us to decide whether we fight, she says, or sit back on our sofas and allow “flourishing barbarism” to destroy the future of upcoming generations.