The coalition’s election “marathon” took to the country in Braga yesterday “in the worst way possible”, with “boos, insults, pushing and even attempts to punch the prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho”.
The sorry picture was carried on national TV and in all this morning’s newspapers.
On the receiving end was not only Passos Coelho, but his deputy and leader of the CDS-PP party, Paulo Portas.
And giving their all in protest were members of the multitude of the “indignant” – the largely middle-aged, middle class investors who claim the government and the Bank of Portugal have been complicit in stripping them of their life savings.
At the bottom of the unrest is the way the collapse of Banco Espírito Santo has been handled.
And while the nation’s media reports that whatever happens, the ‘good bank’ Novo Banco that came from the shambles may end up being offloaded at a loss of €2 billion to the Resolution Fund of Portuguese banks and financial institutions, Passos Coelho appealed to demonstrators not to dog him at every turn of the election trail.
“Tell the people who are hear that it is not by coming to all my campaign events that I can resolve this problem”, he said, among the pushing, shoving and barely-controlled chaos.
But it was not only the indignant who turned up in Braga. Teachers, too, battling against what they see as an institutional plot to undermine their profession were waving banners and heckling – demanding answers as to why so many face yet another year with no chance of employment in sight.
Doing their best to shrug off the incidents as “people expressing themselves in a democracy”, the political caravan moved on to Barcelos, where things appeared calmer – but by the time it had reached Porto, demonstrators were once more in evidence, with police yet again called in to hold back angry crowds.
As national tabloid Correio da Manhã affirms, it was “the worst possible way” to start the coalition’s “Maratona Portugal à Frente” campaign.