Journalist is injured at bullfight protest

EXCLUSIVE by PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

A Portuguese newspaper journalist needed hospital treatment after getting caught up in a confrontation between animal rights protesters and bullfight supporters at an event in Monchique on Sunday.

The animal rights activists had called for the traditional bullfight in aid of the local Bombeiros to be cancelled but it went ahead as planned.

One of the protesters, Jeremy Walton, created a group called Grupo de pessoas que não quer touradas em Monchique (group of people who do not want bullfights in Monchique) to try to elicit support from people attending the event and to try and prevent it from taking place.

He told the Algarve Resident: “The protest was a success. However, there was an incident with a journalist. A man attacked him in front of dozens of people, including several policemen.”

The Algarve Resident contacted Portuguese newspaper Correio da Manhã (CM) in the Algarve, who confirmed that the journalist caught up in the incident was Paulo Marcelino from the paper.

 “I was taking photos of the protest and a man stood in front of me asking what I was doing and who I was,” said Paulo Marcelino.

“I told him that I was a journalist and he started talking aggressively with me, telling me to stop taking photos. I said to him that I was in a public space and just doing my job and after that he head butted me, breaking my nose.”

Paulo Marcelino, who was taken to hospital to receive treatment for his injuries, said he would be pressing charges.

A GNR police spokesman told the Algarve Resident: “We are aware of this situation and we are waiting for a complaint from the victim to start the investigation of this case. Our officers at the scene identified a bullfighter from one of the bullfighting groups as the perpetrator, either Forcados Amadores de Lisboa or Cascais.”

A resident from Monchique, who did not want to be named, told the Algarve Resident: “More than twenty people showed up and left the main square in Monchique, accompanied by a policeman, to go to the front of the bullfighting arena. There they were met by some very angry supporters of the bullfight, who threw water on them and called them names and threatened them.”

The resident added: “There was a reporter covering the event and a person from the crowd began shouting at him to stop taking photos. After that one of the bullfighters ran forward and shoved the reporter.”

Following the incident, the protesters were said to have remained peaceful in the face of fierce verbal aggression hurled at them.

“After 30 minutes – the legal time allowed for the protest – the protesters moved up to the main road above the arena,” added the resident.

José Furtado from Monchique Bombeiros told the Algarve Resident that the event was considered to be a success.

“It was sold out. It was a great achievement and we say thank you to all who gave their support.  We congratulate Monchique Câmara and the members of the public who attended from all over the county to enjoy the bullfight. We raised more than 10,000 Euros, which is going to help us with our financial difficulties.”

He added: “During the protest there was an incident with a journalist and it’s a shame that this happened. Everyone has the right to express their convictions and besides this there were no other problems.”

José Furtado also highlighted the importance of the firefighers and that people should be aware of their responsibilities.

He added that more events for the support of Monchique Bombeiros will happen in the future.

Do you have a view on this story? Please email Editor Inês Lopes at [email protected]