Algarve “takes a stand” against government’s ‘sell-out’ to oil lobbies

Algarve anti-oil groups are not taking parliament’s insistence to steamroller ahead against the will of the people (click here).

MALP – one of the first groups to form against nationwide concessions for fossil fuel exploration – has called a vigil outside Loulé town hall for Thursday May 26.

Hopes are that the publicity generated will shame the government into taking notice.

As MALP said in a press release issued shortly after the ‘black day’ in parliament, it “laments that after the mayors of the Algarve and Alentejo have shown themselves to be against oil exploration in Portugal, after a vast group of scientists have signed their names to an open letter showing their position against oil production in Portugal, after environmental associations and civil society has taken the issue of oil exploration on the Algarve and Alentejan coast to the courts, after the anti-democratic ambush that stood for public consultation about Aljezur’s drilling, this ‘gerigonça’ (contraption) of a government persists in turning its back on the will of the people of the Algarve and Alentejo, and insists on being on the side of oil companies, against a decent, sustainable future for generations, now and beyond”.

MALP “appeals to the groups, movements and associations struggling against oil and gas exploration to leave the complacency of good manners into which they have settled and confront the government in a determined way so that it is forced to have a little shame and put an end to the spectre of oil exploration in the regions of the Algarve and Alentejo”.

It’s a text that alludes to infighting between various campaign groups that has (successfully?) managed to fragment the fight which all admit is vital for the southern region’s ‘survival’.

MALP is clearly hoping for widespread support on May 26. Their protest vigil starts at 11am. Everyone is welcome.

Meantime, ASMAA – the group mobilising the western Algarve – is doing its bit too, launching a pre-municipal election campaign, designed to shame politicians into “adopting an energy policy based on renewables, and on improving energy efficiencies”.

“It’s time for the people to once again remind government that it has a social contract with the people and not with big corporations, or their lobbying groups. It’s time for the voice of the people to be heard”, says the group.

The campaign will include “voter education workshops, posters and information flyers distributed in all affected regions of the Algarve and Alentejo, massive social media campaigns across various social networks and email update broadcasts”.

But there is a “but”.

ASMAA is not affiliated to any political party or political campaigning group and is entirely self-financing.

Without trying to make too serious a point of it, Seabra told the Resident that the group’s ‘bank account’ is down to ‘small change’.

“We do miracles at extending the application of the money we raise, but we do need people’s help…”

For more information, see ASMAA’s website, translated into French, German, Spanish and Dutch for those who cannot read English or Portuguese: http://www.asmaa-algarve.org

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