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Public ministry seeks condemnation of woman who “insulted” former PM from public galleries

Ana Nicolau was just one of a group of angry people who hurled insults from the public galleries in parliament last year at outgoing prime minister Passos Coelho. But for reasons unknown, she is the only one now facing criminal proceedings. Her crime: shouting that Passos Coelho “disgusted the people” and should “resign”.

Forty-year-old Nicolau has since said she was unaware that she was breaking article 33 of the Penal Code which rules that anyone who causes “tumults, disorder or verbal protests that illegitimately perturb the function of a Constitutional organ” could face up to three years in jail.

As Público adds, the clause even covers people wearing tshirts with slogans, or “clowns’ noses”.

Opening their case against Nicolau on Tuesday, the Public Ministry called for the minimum condemnation, which for a woman without a previous record will mean a suspended sentence.

Nonetheless, neither Nicolau or those supporting her are impressed.

Said Adriano Campos of the group Precários Inflexíveis (fighting for rights for workers without contracts) said: “It is absurd to have instrumentalised this case… Worse: the authorities just singled out one person among tens of protestors. It was an attempt to bully all those who were protesting against the debts Passos Coelho had with Social Security” at the time.

Ana Nicolau’s sentencing is to be announced on November 17.

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