It has been described by respected news source Observador as “almost” an institutional revolt, “unprecedented”. Members of Portugal’s armed forces, police and judiciary are meeting today in Lisbon to discuss what they regard as “attacks on their dignity” by politicians.
Fifteen syndicates are involved, explains Observador, from the Armed Forces to diplomats, police forces, Public Ministry magistrates, notaries and tax inspectors.
The intention is to “sound the alert” to “responsible politicians” that these sovereign entities have “for too long been disrespected by successive governments”.
Coming together under the banner of “Sovereign Functions of the State”, the conference ongoing today in the Catholic University is a “call for attention”, and already causing “discomfort among hierarchies”, says the website.
One of the many personalities powering the initiative is António Ventinhas, president of the syndicate of Public Ministry magistrates, whom Observador has quoted as saying:
“The professions that exercise sovereign functions of the State consider that the State has not given due importance to these functions, (despite the fact that they are) pillars of the State and of Democracy”.
Ventinhas claims that instead, these essential sovereign functions have been seen as “mere expenses”.
As Observador reiterates, there is an extensive list of entities coming together today: prosecutors, judicial workers, SEF (borders agency) inspectors, prison guards, Tax office, registry office and notary office employees, diplomats, the Armed Forces (among them officials, sergeants, corporals and reserve and retired personnel), GNR agents, PSP agents, PJ inspectors and members of the Maritime Police” – all of them “trying to counter a process that has been dragging on for years” and defend their “dignity”.
Says the website: “One could almost interpret this major meeting of sovereign entities as an institutional revolt”.
President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa – a champion of the Armed Forces, as his investiture as president earlier this year indicated – was initially expected to address the meeting, but had to cancel due to the fact that he is busy today with discussions over the draft State Budget.