Ria Formosa islanders create “joint account” to fight “surprise demolitions” announced for Farol and Hangares

Taken by surprise last month by a new round of demolition notices (click here), doughty Ria Formosa islanders have mobilised once again to take on the might of the State.

A public debate has been called for 10.30am tomorrow (Saturday) in the Pavilhão Clube Desportivo Os Olhanenses in Olhão, and meantime a bank account has been set up to raise the necessary money to protect 22 homes which islanders insist are primary residences, used by fishermen with every right to remain where they stand.

The homes (12 on the nucleus (community) of Farol, and 10 on neighbouring Hangares) are due to be seized by Sociedade Polis da Ria Formosa on February 27.

The only legal card that could prevent this appears to be a “providência cautelar” – something that could cost up to €3,600 to lodge correctly.

Thus pressure is on for islanders to raise as much money as possible.

Explained José Lezinho, one of the leaders in this fight: “We going to ask all our members to contribute what they can: €10 – €20. And we’re going to publicise the appeal via social media.

“Today it is for these homes, tomorrow it will be for others”.

Hopes are that money raised will reduce the total amount the 22 islanders end up having to pay.

But, the worst of this situation for the families that live on the barrier island off Olhão is that they all thought it had been cleared up.

Association presidents Lezinho and Feliciano Júlio said the sudden appearance of eviction notices “goes completely against the previous climate of trying to find solutions” (click here).

“If it is certain that there are many MPs in parliament sensitive to our arguments, now what awaits us once again is abandonment and the enforcement of unjust political decisions affecting houses that have been proved to be primary residences”, they explain.

As this paper has said many times before, if the authorities thought they could bulldoze these houses without a fight, they will find they have miscalculated. “Tactics of bad faith” can catch people by surprise, but this community has always been ready for a ‘street fight’, if that’s what it comes to.

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