Lisbon’s O Lapo café restaurant – the one small business that stood up against the tide of enforced lockdown closures on Friday (click here) – now faces a fine of between €2,000 and €20,000 for invoking the Constitutional Right of Resistance and keeping its doors open.
Posting thanks to the “avalanche of manifestations of support” received from all corners of the country, proprietors António and Bruna Guerreiro have promised more information shortly.
Their name ‘Guerreiro’ translates as ‘Warrior’ in English – and this couple believes it is “urgent” that people ‘recover their liberty, their right and power to work in order to honour their responsibilities and fight to survive’.
Praising the PSP agents who were given the thankless task of closing the little business down for the “correct and professional” way in which they did it, the pair stress they wholeheartedly understand ‘the interior conflict’ agents must feel when imposing the measures, which they themselves as citizens will “certainly interpret as attacks on the most elementary rights of Portuguese people: the Right to Subsistence, to Work and to Life”.
“After profound analysis, we decided not to reopen yesterday”, they wrote on their Facebook page this evening. “This decision is motivated above all for respect to the sensibility of the PSP agents”.
But this is not an end to the resistance. Not at all. The couple maintain the government’s reasoning for shutting down the hospitality sector is false.
Referring to the “hundreds of thousands of entire families that work in this sector left adrift in a sea of scientific inconsistencies and a total absence of answers to legitimate questions”, they promise to be back shortly “to share more information on actions we will be developing”.
“Since March 2020, scientific authorities have spoken out against these (lockdown) measures, but they have been silenced by opinion makers, and political agents of various professional quarters which present false arguments daily and inundate the press with noise.
“There is absolutely no scientific information that demonstrates restaurants are sources of contagion when compared to airplanes full of passengers confined to the same space for hours, or public transports stuffed with people at rush-hours, or car rallies, even political fixtures, etc.
“The decree for these measures (of confinement) has no scientific basis, and this is why we contest it and demand the reopening of our professional activity.
“Our objective is to work. We do not accept being dependent on support or subsidies – even if they were real. And we cannot sit back and let the country collapse. That is what is starting to happen, first with this sector – then it will quickly spread to all the others. The noisy selfishness of those that have enough to eat and pay their bills at the moment stops them realising that their turn is coming. Huge damage is being done to the national economy. The domino-effect will be inevitable, possibly irreversible. If people remain uninformed and passive, our ship will sink – and then every Portuguese will have to accept responsibility for their own inertia.
“Fear is emasculating. Courage is liberating. It is time to act.
“We will reopen soon and make sure tools are available to all interested parties so that they too can do the same” promise the pair.
“To all restaurant owners, small and local businesses, stay strong and determined. Wait for news. We will never give up our freedom and the fight for life and dignity”.
O Lapo is in the Baixa district of Lisbon, in Rua Marechal Saldanha. It is counting is blessings to finally have “so many police permanently at the door” after years in which it has been sending out letters to the council and other authorities about the area’s “gangs dedicated to thefts and drug-trafficking that have led residents and business owners to despair”.