Actions scheduled for before and during World Youth Day week
Portugal’s PSP police force is preparing “creative and innovative” forms of protest for before and during World Youth Day celebrations in Lisbon in August – to which 1.5 million visitors are expected.
Paulo Santos, president of ASPP/PSP, the trade union association representing the force, explains the reason lies in the “arrogance and irresponsibility” of minister for interior administration José Luís Carneiro, by coincidence out of the country until Sunday due to Portugal Day commemorations.
According to police, Mr Carneiro has failed to ensure enough police agents to sufficiently respond to all the events planned for World Youth Day which is already tipped to “cause chaos in the capital” as so many visitors are expected, many of them arriving ‘ahead of time’.
ASPP/PSP has also complained that in ensuring 2,800 agents for the event, José Luís Carneiro has actually left other district commands in the country short, including police that should be part of critical firefighting response.
The minister refutes this. He recently told the parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees that “border control, operational reinforcement, remuneration for exceptional work, 100% allowances for displaced persons, shifts reduced from eight hours to six hours, accommodation conditions, transport, meals, coordination with the Special Rural Fire Fighting Device and tests on communication networks are some of the important issues that have been taken care of in time.”
Police however accuse him of using words “in a narrative that deceives journalists, Members of Parliament and police officers”, but “cannot deceive the ASPP”.
“We will be at World Youth Day to show our dissatisfaction, in a more creative way, and we will be in other parallel events, for example in sports and leisure events, summer festivals, where we will also make a point of being present, to highlight our complaints and as a form of protest”, Paulo Santos told reporters yesterday as the union mobilised outside the Police Academy in Torres Vedras.
The critical points are that there truly are not enough police to adequately cover World Youth Day and/ or the many other events planned for the country through the summer; salary levels/ shift requirements are not acceptable to them; police feel demotivated and ‘ignored’ by the government, saying requests for meetings have so far fallen on deaf ears.
As this text went up online, ASPP/PSP issued a statement entitled “Protests without end”, saying police actions will be starting on July 27.