Lisbon was once again the scene of violent protests today as ruined former BES investors took their rage onto the streets.
Police were called and in the escalating chaos at least two men collapsed and had to be medically assisted by INEM.
The confusion after around 100 protesters had made their way from outside Novo Banco in Avenida de Liberdade to the PS Socialist Party’s HQ in Rato before ending up outside the official residence of Portugal’s PSD prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
The truth is that while the coalition government may be pulling out all the stops to extol the “pacific” virtues of the Portuguese people when faced with austerity, this case sees nerves and patience on a knife-edge.
Thousands of middle-aged, middle-class investors claim they have been “cheated” by bank managers who knew perfectly well what was happening this time last year, but continued to “sell” unravelling investment schemes in order to try and make up some of BES’ catastrophic shortfall.
Though the Bank of Portugal keeps saying that ruined investors have no legal right to be reimbursed by the bank that emerged from BES’ ashes (Novo Banco), the “association of the cheated” disagrees.
The issue is further complicated by the fact that the government and the Bank of Portugal are keen to sell Novo Banco as quickly as possible, to the highest bidder.
The demonstrations by the “association of the cheated” are thus doing nothing for negotiations.