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Rally for Santiago: Plea to Portugal’s mothers to stand up against British justice

With national media waking up to the startling numbers of Portuguese children forcibly taken from immigrant parents by British social services, the parents of ‘snatched baby’ Santiago Menino Edwards have called for a peaceful demonstration tomorrow outside the British Embassy in Lisbon.

Iolanda Menino and her partner Leonardo Edwards are flying out to Portugal to take part in the vigil – which will move on to the capital’s parliamentary building after making its presence known outside the embassy at midday.

“The British courts are threatening me with prison for publicising how the authorities kidnapped my baby”, 31-year-old Iolanda explained this afternoon.

“My own parents have written to the British authorities, to say they are prepared to look after Santiago in Portugal, but they have been ignored”.

The young cardiology technician is thus appealing to “all Portuguese mothers” to support her and show Britain that court injunctions forbidding heartbroken parents from speak out “will not work”.

“I would rather go to jail than stay silent”, she affirmed. “The lies that have been told about our story are endless. We are exhausted, but we will not sit back and let the system take our baby”.

Iolanda’s story has been covered by most newspapers in Portugal following a major television exposé on RTP’s Sexta às 9.

But the notoriety has seen the court date set to decide Santiago’s future brought forward by three weeks.

“They have done this out of spite, I am sure”, said Iolanda. “They are angry that I spoke to journalists and let them film us”.

The young mother’s insistence to tell her story has seen Público reveal new details on the number of Portuguese children currently in the ‘care’ of British Social Services.

The figure of 30 talked about in Sexta às 9’s broadcast has been updated to 47.

According to Público, the last 17 children were removed from immigrant families in the first four months of this year.

Elsewhere, the BBC has also broadcast reports of similar cases going on in Norway.

Suddenly, ‘child abductions’ – railed against for so many years by campaigners like Sabine McNeill, journalist Christopher Booker and Lib Dem MP John Hemming – are suddenly very much in the public eye.

Anyone wishing to see Sabine’s impassioned plea to the European Parliament two years ago, should see this Youtube video:, while tomorrow’s demo is set for midday at the British Embassy in the capital’s Rua de São Bernardo.

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