Angry chants greet heavy-handed police presence imposing property seizures on Culatra island

Furious islanders and many supporters are back in force on Culatra island this morning as Sociedade Polis carries out its second phase of compulsory house seizures on Hangares nucleus, ahead of planned demolitions.

Against a backdrop of chants denouncing them as “capitalists” and “pigs”, maritime police formed a chain, to keep protestors back and allow Polis staff to walk from house to house, daubing windows with numbers and reading from a legal text authorising the so-called seizure.

Many property owners have refused to remove even a stick of furniture as they still battle to retain the homes they have had in some cases for generations.

This is a “shameful” affair for the simple reason that back in October the government assured the islanders that no demolitions would take place without ‘case by case’ review (click here).

This has not come, says campaigning group SOS Ria Formosa, backed by MPs from the Left Bloc and PCP communist party which continue to fight the cause even in this 11th hour.

With ugly scenes continuing to play out as we write, the hope is that nothing more serious will happen. Up till now, there have been no arrests, no ‘public order offences’. It is something campaigners have been careful to control, always approaching this fight with “words not actions”.

But compulsory seizures have not dampened the resolve to challenge the bulldozers and insist that this case is yet another where the truth is being camouflaged by lies.

The only reason, say campaigners, for the government insisting island homes are ‘at risk’, is because for years it sanctioned the removal of sand from the northern shore. If the sand was replaced, there would be no risks to any of the homes under threat of demolition. But then, that would upset plans that islanders (backed by left wing politicians) say are afoot to create a VIP holiday resort on the island once fishing families and ‘illegal dwellings’ are removed (click here).

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Photo: from SOS Ria Formosa Facebook page, explaining that islanders this morning are simply praying