Shocking images of PSP agents wrestling a 65-year-old member of Cascais council onto rough ground during an environmental protest this week have prompted a torrent of outrage over social media.
Comments range from “We are not Brazil yet” to “Fascists” “Unacceptable aggression” and “This has to be fiction”. But the sad reality is that it all happened in the full light of day – and the police account is very different to that of the dust-covered and no doubt bruised Clemente Alves.
A PSP statement claims Sr Alves (CDU-PCP) “reacted in an aggressive way” to be asked to move on from the “illegal demonstration” over the concreting over of a former green space in S. João do Estoril.
Alves disputes the account, and will be giving his side to the story when he appears before magistrates this morning, charged with the crime of “resistance and coercion of a public sector worker”.
But in the interim, live footage of the incident has been uploaded onto Facebook, and it would appear to show Alves uncombative as agents literally lifted him by the legs and flipped him solidly onto the ground, in front of horrified locals – at least two of which were then shoved repeatedly by other members of the squad (click here).
PCP leader Jerónimo Sousa has accused the PSP of heavy-handedness, and defended Alves’ obligation to support locals.
The issue that brought Alves’ in in the first place is the loss of a green space to a carpark that no one apparently wants, says Diário de Notícias.
“I didn’t do a thing”, Alves told the paper. “I just queried the police presence and ended up being attacked, thrown to the ground, handcuffed and taken in handcuffs to the police station”.
The controversy will also have shone renewed light on the ‘cause’ which centres on the creation of a 200-space carpark within an ecological reserve, on area prone to flooding – a development that local people say has been “badly explained”.
According to DN, the feeling locally is for a green space, not more concrete.