No-one knows who did it, says mayor
A Portuguese flag that was flying at one of the main entrances to the city of Elvas, in the district of Portalegre, was removed, by strangers, and replaced by one of the Russian federation, the mayor revealed today.
Speaking to the Lusa agency, José Rondão Almeida reported that “there was someone who, in the course of last night, decided to remove the Portuguese flag and put the flag of the Russian federation there.
“We regret it and we will try to get the authorities to open an investigation to see if we are able to identify the person,” he said, stressing that disrespect for the national flag is a public offence.
Considering that this act “makes no sense at all”, the mayor emphasised that it can only have been “a bad joke”.
According to Rondão Almeida, the flag of the Russian federation was removed and the national flag reinstated shortly after 8am, when the municipality’s employees entered service.
In a statement published on the council’s social networks, the mayor recalled that the large national flag has been flying permanently near the Amoreira Aqueduct since Elvas hosted the official celebrations of the Day of Portugal, Camões and the Portuguese Communities in 2013.
“On behalf of myself and the municipality, I publicly repudiate not only this but all acts of vandalism against our heritage, especially when one of the main signs of identity of our nation is at stake,” he wrote in the statement.
He added that “since the situation constitutes a public offence, the municipality will report it to the competent authorities”.
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, triggering a war that plunged Europe into what is considered the most serious security crisis since World War II (1939-1945), writes Lusa, adding that the conflict has led to an as-yet-undetermined number of casualties, millions of refugees, the destruction of part of Ukraine and disruptions to energy and agricultural exports that have raised fears of a global food crisis.