Lawyers support 226 protesters arrested in general strike

Legal support will be provided by the Portuguese Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados) for the 226 people arrested for anillegal demonstration during last week’s general strike in Lisbon, when they allegedly tried to block traffic on the access to the 25 de Abril bridge.

The arrested demonstrators could face a prison sentence of one to five years for an illegal act of protest and jeopardising road safety.

Vasco Marques Correia, president of the Lisbon district council of the Ordem dos Advogados, believes that “it is not normal for more than 200 people to be arrested on one night” after a peaceful demonstration.

The police claim the protestors started their action at the Portuguese Parliament in the city and then at around 6.30pm marched on to cut access to the 25 de Abril bridge, though this version of the turn of events is unconfirmed and denied by the detainees.

A 57-year old travel agent who participated in the protest told Lusa news agency that the police “were ahead of us” leading the way.

“We thought we were going towards Amoreiras and then Marquês de Pombal. However, they led us towards the bridge. Nobody cut the traffic. There were only a few people who jumped onto the road and yelled for the drivers to sound their horns,” she said.

In the light of these facts, the Portuguese Bar Association will form a support group for the detainees who were due to appear in court last Friday.

The trial is scheduled to take place on July 12.