President Marcelo comments on Portugal’s BLM racism protests: ‘Vandalizing statues is imbecilic’
Vandalizing statues is an “imbecilic” act, stated President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa this Monday, arguing that the heritage that exists linked to culture and history “must be considered at the time in which they lived”, and that nothing “justifies vandalizing or destroying” monuments “that are testimonies to the personality of our history”.
“Otherwise, we would start at King Afonso Henriques, who persecuted Muslims and ends up at the Belém Tower and at Jerónimos. Everything goes,” shot the President of the Republic, who likened “the idea of ??burning books” with “destroying statues”. For him “to judge history today is a risk for the past”.
Marcelo expressed that the vandalization of the statue of colonial Jesuit Father António Vieira, in Lisbon, “showed ignorance and imbecility”. “Whoever is behind it is an imbecile because it is difficult not to know about one of the great personalities in the history of the country. He was a great diplomat”, defended Marcelo, remembering that he was “persecuted by the Inquisition” and “was the greatest Portuguese speaker of his time”. For this reason, him “being considered an example of what we want to demolish in our history is a truly stupid thing”.
“I don’t think Portuguese society is, as a whole, racist. But there are racist and xenophobic sectors in Portugal, there is,” conceded the President, concerned with “the radicalization of Portuguese society”.
“We are experiencing a pandemic and, at the moment when we have an economic and social crisis, the radicalization of Portuguese society can feed off that” he stated, highlighting that “radicalism pulls radicalism “.
He also asked himself a question on the topic: “Do the Portuguese people gain something from this free and unintelligent radicalization? I don’t think so.”