Expatica news

PM subbed over Pedrógão Grande anniversary lunch

FireLeiriaSmallCarsThe Algarve’s fire service was kept on their toes this weekend, tackling blazes in Gião, near Moncarapacho, São Bartolomeu de Messines and Santa Catarina da Fonte do Bispo.

Two men, aged 65 and 74, were arrested on suspicion of arson at a fire in Franqueira, Silves after a GNR patrol were told by eye-witnesses who was responsible.

The two will be held in cells until the can be heard by the local court om Monday.

A ceremony was held on Sunday to mark a year since the devastating fires in Pedrógão Grande.

On June 17th, 2017, fire spread from Pedrógão Grande to neighboring municipalities, killing 66 people and injuring 253. Around 500 properties were damaged, as were 50 company premises as flames swept over 53,000 hectares of tinnder-dry land, 20,000 of which was forest. 47 people died in their cars as they tried to escape the inferno.

A few months later, in October, fires that hit the Central region killed more people, bringing the total to 121.

The prime minister, António Costa, was not invited to today’s ceremony, held by the Association of Fire Victims of Pedrógão Grande but the President of the Republic was.

The mayor of Pedrógão Grande said he did not know the event was on and that he was not invited, “No one invited me to any of this, I did not know,” said Valdemar Alves.

The private ceremony to honour the victims of the fire included the launch of 66 white balloons, one for each of the deceased, followed by an address by the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

According to the event programme, the ceremony included reading out the names of the victims, observing a minute of silence and showing a video.

Then there were tributes by the relatives of the victims and, before balloon launch, a speech by Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa who last Christmas visited the area and comforted survivors.

Before the private lunch, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa joined other government members and scores of local people at a small church in Pedrogao Grande.

© algarvedailynews.com

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