Army chief speaks out over “calamitous situation” in Portugal

Army chief speaks out over “calamitous situation” in Portugal

Officers of the Armed Forces met at the weekend as elsewhere PSD rulers were holding their annual conference.
While Prime Minister Passos Coelho affirmed that the country was on the right track as a result of its programme of austerity, officers of the Armed Forces discussed what they call the “calamitous situation” being endured by personnel in Portugal.
Talking afterwards with Correio da Manhã, the president of the Association of Officers of the Armed Forces (AOFA), Coronel Pereira Cracel, said the moment to go “beyond indignation” had well and truly passed.
Asked how he felt about Passos Coelho declaring at the PSD’s conference that the country was “better”, Cracel replied: “It isn’t better for the military, or anybody else. It is only better for some – those responsible for the situation in which we find ourselves. The prime minister, as is usual with politicians, is well-versed at using only the indicators that interest him so that he can falsify reality. The other indicators are hidden.
“The government is one of absolute autism,” he continued. “It does not listen to the military, contrary to what is stipulated in the law.
“Neither of the parties in power, nor the Socialists, is able to listen first and act afterwards,” he added. “The last government has to take responsibility, too. We have come to understand that this is part of a strategy to weaken an essential institution for the country.”
According to AOFA’s Facebook page, the association’s 600 members have determined to stay “alert, vigilant and active” to ensure that “the ways ahead are the best for Portugal and the Portuguese”.

Mass protest expected on March 6

Security forces are expected to turn out in force next Thursday (March 6) for the national protest called in Lisbon.
Officers of the GNR, PSP, Maritime Police, prison service, workers at SEF (the frontiers authority) and ASAE (food hygiene and economic standards authority) will all be taking part in the demonstration that will gather in Marquês de Pombal and move up to the Parliament building.
Paulo Rodrigues, president of the security forces coordinating commission, is quoted as telling journalists that is the “most adequate route”.
Reasons behind these latest protests centre on government cutbacks to wages in the various forces.

Over 500 GNR officers with salaries ‘seized’

A total of 525 GNR officers have had their salaries ‘seized’ to pay ever-mounting debts. This shocking reality was highlighted this week by Correio da Manhã newspaper, which adds that officers’ financial difficulties saw Social Services intervene in 3,854 cases last year – a 12% increase on the number of officers who needed help in 2012. In all, €8.7 million has had to be granted by the institution to help officers pay their debts.