Mystery surrounds “sad petition” calling for Algarve councils to block Red Cross refugee camp

Mystery surrounds the source of a petition that has sprung up in response to the news last week that the Moncarapacho-Fuzeta delegation of the Red Cross was willing to cede land it has in the eastern Algarve for a refugee camp.

The petition – on the national “petição pública” site – has blanked out all its intentions, as well as every piece of information that could lead people to discover who is behind it.
Coming in a week in which local people started the Bem Vindos Algarve Refugiados Facebook page welcoming migrants and trying to create a local network of people to help them – and with the government agreeing it is time to increase its response to the gathering migrant crisis – this new petition has left a sour taste in many mouths.

“What a sad petition”, wrote one of the 409 commentators.

But what is sadder still is the underhand way the petition seems to be operating.

There is no explanatory text on the “petição pública” site, though it continues to accept signatories and comments.

Jornal i gives a clue as to the contents in a short article published on Thursday.

The original text is reported to have said: “Knowing that the Algarve is one of the regions with the highest unemployment in the country… the integration of refugees will be a disaster”.
The text highlighted the “possibility” of “positive discrimination towards refugees” which would “exacerbate the Algarve’s problems, increasing unemployment and reducing quality of life”.

It did have one proviso, however, writes Jornal i: “If the EU creates mechanisms to investigate and check on the origins and effective necessities of these refugees, as well as their reputations, this petition will be annulled”.

But while commentators on the petição publica site argue amongst themselves, the “cause” is being widely published on national blogs which carry the text in full that also alludes to the risk of incoming “migrants” being terrorists.

While the page is “blanked” but still gathering signatures, it is impossible to know the total number of people who have signed.

According to Jornali on Thursday, 700 people had signed here:

There is already a similiar one regarding the UK:

On the same day, offers of help and accommodation were flooding in to Bem Vindos Refugiados Algarve which continues to go all out to create conditions of welcome to migrants, and is aligned to the European initiative:

[email protected]