Aljezur’s campaigning mayor José Amarelinho has joined the throng of voices speaking out against the government’s decision to plough ahead with oil drilling plans off the coast of Aljezur, regardless of populations’ opposition (click here).
With protesters now planning to travel to parliament (see Algarve Resident paper edition tomorrow), Amarelinho has lambasted powermakers for their “tremendous disrespect” to thousands of people who have shown themselves categorically against any plans for hydrocarbon exploration in the region.
That the government is still prepared to ‘carry on regardless’ is not only “bizarre” and “imprudent” it is “morally, politically and legally” wrong, he maintains.
Putting the issue into sharp perspective, Amarelinho explains that on one hand, fishermen are prohibited from catching sargo along the coast from February 1 to March 15 – while in Aljezur particularly, there is an “abhorrent and inexplicable” maritime ban on lay- and shellfishing – yet somehow the government can see the way forwards to sanctioning drilling despite “legal, environmental and scientific arguments” as well as clear “contractual illegalities”.
Amarelinho’s stand comes in the wake of criticism from anti-oil campaigners, demands for reconsideration by Algarve tourism boss Desidério Silva and a clear challenge from Left Bloc leader Catarina Martins.
Battlelines have been drawn. For more information, see our paper edition out on sale tomorrow and consult ASMAA’s online pages, for details of the upcoming demonstration.