Post Paris terror: police on “maximum alert” in Portugal

Post Paris terror: police on “maximum alert” in Portugal

As Portugal’s PJ police are on maximum alert and border controls reinforced throughout the country, government sources have confirmed that new laws will soon be in place to tighten safeguards against terrorism.

Talking on TVI over the weekend, Interior Minister Anabela Rodrigues stressed “legislative aspects were being fine-tuned” over “terrorism matters” as the phenomenon was “in permanent mutation”.

Elsewhere, newspapers mention “three government ministers in two days” alluding to “legal alterations” “in the pipeline” designed to address the threat of terrorism.

Very possibly by coincidence, last Friday at last saw the appointment of the new head of SEF (the government authority in charge of borders and foreign residents) – and he was quick to stress that “all steps necessary” have been put in place to secure the country following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.

António Carlos added that some new and “concrete measures” had been introduced, but that the need for secrecy precluded him from giving further details.

As his immediate boss Anabela Figueiredo told TVI, Portugal is keeping a close eye on developments in France but “at this moment there is no heightened concern that would suggest our security is at risk”.

The pair’s comments came over a weekend which saw Portugal’s prime minister Pedro Passos Coelho joining world leaders at the extraordinary Unity Rally that saw over 1.5 million people converge on Paris to say “No” to the insidious message behind last week’s atrocities.

“Terrorism will not bring down France or freedom” was declared the “phrase of the day” while in Lisbon hundreds of people came together in Largo de Camões to show solidarity with events unfolding in the French capital.

Sadly, however, the city’s mosque was targeted by graffiti recalling a date which Diário de Notícias reveals was “used by neonazis”.

The date referring to what neonazis consider the foundation of Portugal – 1143 – was daubed across the mosque’s main entrance door and wall in blue paint.

Lisbon’s imam has appealed to Muslims “not to react negatively when they suffer provocation”, while at the same time saying that all such ‘attacks’ should be communicated to the authorities.

According to DN, this is the second time the mosque has been targeted – the first being after 9/11 when it was the focus of a bomb threat.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]