Another day of tensions as Ria Formosa islanders await court decision

It was another nail-biting day in Ria Formosa on Wednesday as islanders facing mass demolition of their homes sit it out waiting for a court decision.

Loulé’s administrative court has now received the arguments pressing the case for the demolitions from “environmental agency” Polis Litoral, and the organisation’s president said it remains “a matter of time” before he can get on with the work in hand.

Sebastião Teixeira appeared unconcerned that Faro Câmara had approved a motion for his dismissal last week (, simply reiterating that the islanders’ homes are “illegal” and on land that “should be used by all, not a few”.

When asked as to whether he enjoyed forcing people from their homes, he insisted on citing islanders’ “illegality” – yet, as CMTV heard that morning, some families are now into their fifth generation after being sent to the island by previous governments to help construct vital infrastructures.

The reason for yesterday’s tensions were that islanders feared Polis would be trying to take possession of homes on Hangares nucleus, destined for demolition next week.

It didn’t happen. But this did not stop locals taking it in turns to “guard” their island access bridge.

When a “journalist” turned up in a boat owned by Polis, “we were worried”, campaigner Vanessa Morgado told us late in the afternoon.

“The fact that she came in a Polis boat could not be good news. We asked for identification and now we wait and see what will come…”

For now, the hope is that Faro council’s vote of no confidence in Teixeira’s presidency will bring an 11th hour turnaround.

But the man himself appeared unrepentant when quizzed by the Resident yesterday.

“I am only complying with the law,” he told us. “These demolitions were passed by a government 10 years ago, and I happen to agree with them.”

He accepted nonetheless that tearing down people’s only homes was “not agreeable”.

The islanders’ hard fought campaign to shine a spotlight on their plight saw them on CMTV on Wednesday morning and the show’s hosts Maya and Nuno Graciano affirmed the station and its newspaper, Correio da Manhã, is 100% behind the cause, as the islanders, they claim, are being treated “scandalously”.

“This is all about hidden agendas and interests,” said Maya. “It is an outrage.”

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