Controversy rages over plans for a meeting of the extreme right-wing group Nova Ordem Social (New Social Order) in Lisbon on Saturday.
65 organisations – 28 Portuguese and 37 international – have signed a petition calling for the meeting to be cancelled on the basis that it is an affront to democracy.
But authorities’ answer appears to be that in a democracy freedom of speech must be allowed.
Saturday’s meeting – at which various European speakers are due to address those attending – will be closely watched by SIS (security forces) and police.
The venue for now has not been disclosed. Say reports, it will only be made public on the day (presumably to avoid retaliatory actions).
However, the 65 ‘antifascist’ groups pushing for the event to be cancelled vow they too will be holding a demonstration in Lisbon on Saturday – decrying the racist views pushed by Nova Ordem Social.
‘Skinhead’ and former biker Mário Machado is to be one of the speakers at the event, along with representatives of right-wing parties in Spain, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Italy and Germany.
By coincidence this week, Germany’s ‘right wing party’ Alternative for Germany has stormed ahead in the polls ahead of ‘crucial regional elections’, overtaking Angela Merkel’s centre right coalition.
This follows ‘huge gains’ (as cited by the British press) in May’s European elections.