Mouraria has changed massively over the last few years, with many immigrants living in cramped conditions. This image follows a terrible fire in which two immigrants died, and many others were made homeless. Image: Lusa
Mouraria has changed massively over the last few years, with many immigrants living in cramped conditions. This image follows a terrible fire in which two immigrants died, and many others were made homeless. Image: Lusa

Lisbon police warn of ‘high risk to public order’ from far-right protest

Protest has been banned – but organisers mean to protest ban…

Portugal’s main urban police force, the PSP, believes that there is “a high risk to public order and safety” from a planned demonstration in Lisbon on Saturday ‘Against the Islamisation of Europe’.

The demo is scheduled for the Mouraria area of the capital where a large number of Muslims live and work.

According to various sources it has been planned by the neo-Nazi group 1143.

Said a written opinion sent to Lisbon City Council by the police force last Friday: “It has been concluded that there is a high risk to public order and safety, since serious vulnerabilities have been identified associated with the social and physical characteristics of the space indicated by the promoter for the gathering and parade.”

In the document, the PSP stated that after receiving “warning/information” from the council about the route of the demonstration, it carried out “a risk analysis for public order and security”, with worrying results.

The event carries “a high risk of generating a serious and effective disturbance of public order and tranquillity, and of the free exercise of the rights of the people who live, work and frequent that area of the city.”

The document, which was signed by the head of the PSP’s Lisbon Metropolitan Command, Luis Fiães Fernandes, referred to the city council having indicated that the demonstration was to begin at 6 pm at the fountain at Praça do Intendente, before following a route along Rua do Benformoso and Rua Fernandes da Fonseca before turning back up Rua da Palma and ending at the same fountain.

Police believe “limitations on the free exercise of freedom of demonstration by participants in the initiative” should be an option, given the “existence of variables and risk factors that are not controllable, in terms of the management of the risks identified.”

In the document sent to the city council and based on legislation from 1974 that regulates the right of assembly, and the 2021 opinion of the advisory council of the office of the attorney general on the actions of mayors when they receive prior notice of a demonstration, the PSP took the view that “the demonstration followed by a parade should not be authorised in the manner (date/time/place) communicated by the organiser.

“If this is not the understanding… and if the demonstration continues in that space, it is the PSP’s understanding that  (…) there will be no conditions to ensure the holding of the parade in the manner communicated”. 

This damning opinion has seen the City Council say it will not authorise the demo as proposed – but organisers have said they will be protesting this ‘non authorisation’ on the same day, at the same time, without publicly specifying the location.

Source material: LUSA