Ria Formosa demolitions – a national disgrace

Dear Editor,

I would like to take this opportunity to alert your readers to the protest planned for Saturday in Olhão by islanders from Ria Formosa who are at risk of losing their homes and livelihoods as a result of the arbitrary policies imposed by Polis Litoral (and where does a name like that comes from? Sounds horrible). My husband and I have a holiday apartment in Olhão, and therefore know the islands well.

What is happening to them and their people is nothing short of a national disgrace. I noticed in one of your reports, you mentioned fisherman José Lézinho. We know him well. We talked with him during the protest last week and he vowed the bulldozers will have to roll over islanders’ bodies if they continue with this horrible cleansing operation.

I am not sure if your readers understand the significance of the dates chosen by Polis to demolish islanders’ homes. Farol is due to be attacked on Liberty Day (April 25), and Hangares on May 13, the anniversary of the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Fátima – one of the most sacred dates in the Portuguese calendar. It seems obvious that these dates were chosen to further ‘break people’s spirits’. Thus, I hope as many people as possible, of all nationalities, come out on Saturday to support these brave and threatened islanders.

Marie Elizabete Coutinho, by email