Marcelo yesterday, facing angry protestors
The Israel-Hamas conflict spills over into everyday life throughout Europe. Image: Marcelo yesterday, facing angry protestors. Image: José Sena Goulão / Lusa

President heckled following comments to Palestinian diplomat

Marcelo’s opinions inflame pro-Palestine demonstrators

President Marcelo’s televised comments to the head of Palestine’s diplomatic mission in Portugal last Friday reverberated through the weekend.

Quite apart from the ‘outrage’ his remarks seem to have caused, they were the butt of satirical show “Isto é Gozar com Quem Trabalha”, which pointed out that even the event at which they were made seems at odds with itself.

You can have ‘diplomacy’, said the show’s host Ricardo Araújo Pereira, and you can have ‘a bazaar’, but combining the two concepts doesn’t quite gel – as was the case last Friday, when Marcelo’s opinions went down like a lead balloon with the entourage of Nabil Abuzaid.

On Sunday, a pro-Palestine demonstration outside the presidential palace calling for a cease-fire in war-torn Gaza also showed how disappointed they had been by Marcelo’s words.

You forget that you are not a commentator anymore” thundered one man in the crowd, against a backdrop of angry ‘Free Palestine’ shoutings. “You are the president of all Portuguese people. You talk too much!

At one point Marcelo faced the full force of a woman shouting through a megaphone inches from his face. Quite what she was saying was lost in the plasticy-static. But it was not a happy occasion – and as SIC Sunday evening news commentator Luís Marques Mendes concluded in his regular slot last night, this whole episode has not been one from which the president has emerged in a shining light.

For all Marcelo’s attempts to explain exactly what he had meant in his comments last Friday (“I said what we are all thinking”), the protestors at least were having none of it. “You were very bad”, said one woman, accusing Marcelo of having “shamed Portugal”.

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