the incident has been picked up by various media outlets. This montage of shots coming from digital-luso.com

Sadness and outrage as horses put through hell during religious procession in Coimbra

Confraria Rainha Santa Isabel blames municipality

Crowds who turned out to see the procession of the Rainha Santa (Sainted Queen) in Coimbra yesterday were shocked and saddened to see horses taking part put through absolute hell in the sweltering heat.

An instagram clip shows the conditions that faced four GNR horses; three of which somehow managed to get up a concrete ramp, slipping and sliding horribly.

But one just couldn’t make it. The mare stayed down on the ground, possibly much too frightened to even try to get up again.

Noticias de Coimbra filmed the moment various long stretches of cloth were put on the ground, giving the animal the purchase needed to get up and stay up. She was then manhandled away from the ramp, with people in front and behind, ensuring support.

PAN (People Animals Nature) party is now demanding an explanation.

What seems to have happened is that this year a path previously prepared for horses taking part on this particular stretch of pavement was not provided.

Says noticiasaominuto, the Confraria Rainha Santa Isabel, the organisation holding this procession, put the blame squarely on the local municipality, which at time of writing does not appear to have given an explanation as to why this year involved a logistical lapse that has resulted in hundreds of outraged shares over social media.

PAN meantime has also asked for explanations from the GNR and the Ministry for Interior Administration.

The party says that it has heard that “falls by animals are recurrent” on this ramp. They have happened in previous processions, “because the horses’ shoes cannot grip the pavement”, says a statement. This creates “serious risk” of the animals’ “suffering serious physical harm”, says the party.

The story has generated “a wave of indignation” over various channels of social media, seeing almost everyone perplexed that animals have to be put through such trauma, for the sake of religion, on such an incredibly hot day.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com