Council bosses and angry locals barricade themselves into bank to protest against closures

With the ‘streamlining’ of State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos ongoing, one community has shown that it’s not taking the nationwide policy of closures lying down.

The deputy mayor and other council members of the municipality of Almeida, in Guarda, barricaded himself into the town’s branch of CGD yesterday afternoon, flanked by scores of angry locals.

“I am not moving before someone agrees to see me and give me information on this branch’s future”, José Alberto Morgado told reporters.

The branch was one of 61 earmarked for closure as former health service hatchet man Paulo Macedo asserts his position as CGD’s new president.

But the six-hour-long protest has bought Almeida time.

It ended at 8.30pm when Morgado and his vociferous supporters were guaranteed dialogue, with the branch being kept open until “at least next Tuesday”, reports national tabloid Correio da Manhã.

Morgado explained that the reason for people’s outrage is that they had been previously promised that the branch would remain open.

In practice, however, “it wasn’t really going to be like that at all”. Only the IT and machine aspect of the bank (ATM and ATF) would remain, and thus someone who needed, for example, to withdraw €1,500 “would not be able to”.

The protest began with locals entering the bank en-masse at 2pm – all of them demanding information – to the extent that at closing time, the premises were still full.

Police were called, but the action went ahead peacefully until the dialogue promise was given, and accepted.

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