Government “advances with legislative proposal to review right to demonstrate”… or hold a meeting

Minister for Interior Administration Eduardo Cabrita has announced that the government “is advancing with a legislative proposal to submit to parliament to review the exercise of the right of assembly and demonstration”.

In simple terms, the government appears to want more control over how people come together and/ or protest.

Using the ‘celebrations’ of Sporting fans during the national championships as the pretext, Mr Cabrita said the ‘concentration’ of supporters outside the football stadium during the game on May 11 was “an abusive use of the interpretation of the right to demonstrate”.

At the presentation of the IGAI (general-inspectorate of Interior Administration) report on the incident, he said: “We will prepare in my office, in articulation with the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, a proposal to revise the decree-law 406/74 which regulates exercise of the right of assembly and demonstration”.

The Sporting melée – which descended into violence, with police shooting rubber bullets into the crowd (click here) – “had nothing to do with the framework of reasons for which every day it is legitimate to exercise the right to demonstrate for political, syndical or religious reasons,” added Mr Cabrita.

Lusa’s report continued that “according to the minister, the current decree-law on this subject is pre-Constitutional”.

The news came on the same day that Expresso reported that the PS and PSD are already ‘aligned’ over the first revision of the Portuguese Constitution for 16 years.

PSD leader Rui Rio has said that one of the 50 reforms he would like to see is the ability for authorities to be able to send people into confinement or hospital in situations of “serious contagious disease” without recourse to any kind of ‘appeal’ (click here).

Right now the courts are, and have for years been, a refuge for people balking at overly-authoritarian dictats (click here and here).

But Covid-19 seems to be being used very much now as a reason why all this should change (click here).

Unsettling is the fact that Eduardo Cabrita – already vilified by the media for countless political faux-pas – appears to have been caught (yet again) misinterpreting the truth.

He used the press conference to accuse Sporting Football Club of ‘not having collaborated’ with IGAI.

Sporting has since said that the minister’s declarations were “of extreme gravity” and “lamentable”, showing “a profound lack of knowledge” as to what actually happened.

This too suggests the Sporting celebrations may have been hijacked to suit the current political agenda.

[email protected]