Riot police in force in Lisbon over latest protest by “small BES investors”

Riot police were out in force today to protect the bank that refuses to honour the savings of thousands of Portuguese emigrants.

As news services reported from Lisbon’s Baixa district late this morning, tensions were high, with hundreds of furious banner waving protestors being pushed and shoved by the country’s security forces.

Today’s demo included hundreds of emigrants who have returned to Portugal for their annual summer holidays and are determined to show their frustration over the way the Bank of Portugal has handled the catastrophic collapse of BES bank.

Anger centres on the reported €720 million in investments in commercial paper in various BES/GES companies that simply vanished in the carve-up – leaving thousands of investors in situations of extreme personal hardship.

Earlier this year, the “association of the indignant” talked of suicides among elderly people who had seen the savings of a lifetime reduced to dust.

But as Novo Banco was protected from being stormed by angry demonstrators thanks to 15 van-loads of special intervention police, elsewhere the so-called “good bank” was not so lucky.

In the UK, US investment giant Goldman Sachs won an important battle last week (click here Novo Banco loses key battle over “missing” €835 million) and last Friday Lisbon’s administrative court upheld a legal bid to ensure that the Bank of Portugal informs any future buyers of Novo Banco that there are all these angry people waiting for reimbursement on past investments.

As protesters told TV cameras in the stifling Lisbon heat this morning, their plight could extend to many others, as Novo Banco will almost certainly not be sold for the money ploughed into it by Portuguese banks, and that will leave many national banks with huge losses on their hands.

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Photo: Dozens of riot police were drafted in to protect Novo Banco’s Lisbon HQ from the fury of hundreds of duped investors on August 10.