Island “nightmare” continues today as maritime police maintain massive presence on Culatra

The nightmare suffered by Ria Formosa islanders yesterday (click here) continues today, with another 19 properties being ‘compulsorily seized’ with a view to demolition.

Massive police presence was maintained overnight, with a Naval frigate docked at the quayside of Farol nucleus in an apparent show of oppression that islanders have deemed “shameful”.

As representatives of Sociedade Polis – the government-backed agency enforcing these demolitions – proceed from condemned property to condemned property daubing windows with blue numbers (for identification by bulldozers in the next few weeks), islanders accompanying them hold black crosses over their shoulders as a demonstration of their community’s anger and frustration.

President of Farol householder’s association Feliciano Júlio has stressed that at least four of the properties due to be ‘seized’ today belong to working fishermen who have submitted paperwork supporting legal embargos into Loulé’s administrative court.

SOS Ria Formosa, the campaign group that has fought so hard for recognition of islanders’ rights to remain in their homes, is calling on all supporters to remain steadfast, and on the island, so that politicians can see clearly the strength of feeling.

Yesterday in parliament, PCP leader Jerónimo de Sousa made a “vehement appeal” to prime minister António Costa to “reevaluate the cases of properties at risk of demolition”, stressing the islanders’ right to live and work” on the island many have called their home for generations, while BE MP João Vasconcelos accused environment minister Matos Fernandes of “violating the law” – citing the resolution passed in parliament last October, recognising the ‘historic existence’ of communities Farol and Hangares (click here).

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