Portugal’s Attorney General has responded to the sense of growing outrage over nighttime attacks on revellers and partygoers.
This week has seen at least three separate incidents that have gone ‘viral’ over social media, all of them involving young men kicked to a pulp as they lay defenceless on the ground.
In one of the worst cases, two ‘security guards’ at the notorious K Urban Beach disco in Lisbon were filmed repeatedly kicking two young men while apparently unresponsive crowds looked on.
The disco has today been closed on the orders of the ministry of internal administration, citing this latest disgrace among 38 other previous complaints.
An investigation will get underway, involving multiple authorities including SEF borders control agency and representatives of private security companies. The closure will remain in place for the next six months, with the club’s proprietors given this time to effect any changes to their methods of security that come to be recommended.
Meantime, tabloid Correio da Manhã lists the “history of conflicts” at the nightspot, including one incident in 2013 in which a young man was seen leaving the disco on his own, never to be heard from again.
There has been no discovery of João Medeiros’ body, says CM. He simply vanished off the face of the earth.
Also in 2013, another client became involved in a discussion with an Urban Beach security guard, ending up “seriously hurt”.
2014, 2016 and earlier this year have all seen official complaints logged by disco-goers citing security guards as the aggressors, while holiday sites like Tripadvisor are “full of reports” filed by tourists warning others to “stay away from Urban Beach”
Says Observador, Briton Connor McCreesh has posted about his experience online calling his attackers “Mad Dogs in Lisbon”.
Uploading a horrible photograph of his injured eye some time after the attack, his story details what he called “one of the most shocking, vicious acts of senseless, unprovoked violence I’ve ever witnessed”.
And sadly these ‘acts’ take place every single week, he said.
Earlier this summer, the Resident heard from another traumatised Briton – warning of another nightspot in the capital (click here).
But the truth is that these incidents take place outside bars, discos and nightspots all over the country.
This week saw similar horrific attacks in the early morning in Coimbra and Setúbal.
National television has been running clips filmed by eye-witnesses, and debates are now ongoing.
This is what appears to have prompted the public prosecutor’s office to say “enough”.
Attorney General Joana Marques Vidal told reporters: “These are worrying cases because the degree of violence involved is elevated. We have to be ready, not just for rapid investigation but to action all means to prevent these type of crimes”.
In Setúbal, the 27-year-old Brazilian set on by a gang of about 50 men in the early hours of Wednesday morning died of his injuries – but in the other incidents all the young men have since been released from hospital.
Relatives and friends however say they have been “deeply affected” and will need psychological support.
As for the security guards involved in the Urban Beach incidents, the company that employs them, PSG, has said they will be “punished in an exemplary fashion, according to the gravity of their behaviour”.
As we wrote this report, television news reported that three guards have been arrested by PSP police and ‘others’ are being actively sought.
UPDATE: Two of the guards have been remanded in preventive custody with the judge upgrading the severity of their charges from GBH to attempted murder. The third guard has been released on the TIR regime (orders to stay within his area of residence).
All three guards have been suspended from PSG security pending investigations, while the company has withdrawn its services from all nightspots, saying it wishes to “distance” itself from similar situations that may occur in future.
In a press statement, PSG explains that security guard cover in nightclubs and discos represents just 3% of its business which has been running now for 10 years, and has “close to one thousand” employees.