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Climate protest Saturday: hundreds take to streets of Lisbon and Porto

Scores of activists from an Algarve threatened by oil and gas exploration joined hundreds of people for demonstrations in Lisbon yesterday (Saturday), while in Porto – in pouring rain – similar protests took to the streets.

The overriding message was that people need to “wake up” and realise what hydrocarbon exploration will mean to our ‘day-to-day’.

Said Paula Sequeiros of Porto-based group Coletivo Clima: “One of the companies that is due to come here is Cosmos, from Dallas. We know what they have done in the United States. People were left with land that could not be used as everything was reduced to dust”.

Elsewhere, members from scores of other groups and organisations marched through streets, banners held high, drums accompanying chants and the message: “Save the Climate” riding paramount.

Left Bloc MP Jorge Costa told reporters: “The Paris agreements (on climate change – COP21) were a very timid but important step in the combat of climate change, but this agreement is today in danger with the victory of Donald Trump in the United States. There needs to be mobilisation on a global scale in defence of the planet, and in the name of more ambitious methods to combat climate change”.

From the Algarve, doughty queen of the anti-movement Laurinda Seabra representing ASMAA – one of the most proactive groups in this struggle -stressed that the average layman in Portugal is still not up-to-speed with the true implications of what is happening.

“We have many initiatives planned for 2017”, she said, adding that a People’s Referendum on the government’s insistence on maintaining exploration licenses that cover every inch of the Algarve’s coastline as well as 14 municipalities onshore is one of the most ambitious.

The “Salvar o Clima, Stop Gas and Oil Exploration” protests were timed to coincide with this year’s climate change conference ongoing in Marrakech, and supported by PAN (the People Animals and Nature Party) – the only political party in government that has called for the ripping up of every exploration contract still in place.

All other politicians who took part in Saturday’s colourful demos were doing so on a personal basis, not representing their party.

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PHOTO: josecoelhophotography, posted by José Carvalho