Civic opposition to government plans to embrace lithium exploration in various parts of the country hit a low note this week with news that police ‘identified’ a female cyclist simply for shouting “No to lithium. Portugal is not for sale” as she passed a ceremony, in Viana do Castelo, at which prime minister António Costa was present.
Groups fighting the expansion of lithium concessions fear authorities are becoming heavy-handed
Said one: “We all know what it means to be identified. Liberty is a right for which we have to fight every day in this country, under the threat of waking up one day as sheep”.
Meantime, the first debate on lithium exploration in the Minho region saw those present
decide “urgent action is needed to safeguard Portuguese territory”.
It’s a message coming out of all corners affected by the government’s ambitious ‘lithium auction’ (click here).
In Braga last Friday Elda Fernandes of the group “Braga por Todos” (Braga for Everyone) said that the “big question is that this exploration, in the case of the Minho and Alto Minho regions, doesn’t have the consent of landowners who, due to lack of information, accepted prospection. Now, the decision to destroy part of the country is in the hands of secretary of state João Galamba and not the environment minister, which is incredible and shows that we are being hoodwinked by this government and by the trivialisation of the word decarbonisation.”
Lithium opposition is not about being radical, she told her audience, it is about stopping the sale of “our territory, the land that belongs to people, their homes and quality of life”.
Say reports, Fernandes also alluded to the “strong possibility” of mining operations causing pollution and contamination of groundwaters as well as the loss of subsistence for families whose land is appropriated.
The movement has scheduled a ‘walk in defence of the environment” for July 21 in Morgade, where plans are due to be displayed showing areas “defined for the opening of craters”.