Citing “the few who accumulate many millions” while the poor left to get poorer
Thousands of people took to the streets for another Saturday in Lisbon. Demonstrations involved one led by citizens movement Vida Justa (backed by various teaching syndicates) and another called by S.T.O.P, the more radical of the teaching syndicates currently locked in negotiation stalemate with the government over pay and conditions.
To a large extent S.T.O.P ‘grabbed the headlines’ in news reports, with elaborate props like a ‘coffin’ depicting the condition of State education, but the overall message was that there are thousands of citizens suffering as a result of the cost of living crisis.
As Vida Justa’s very name suggests, those within the movement chanted “We want bread, not inflation” (in Portuguese the two words rhyme); “Enough price rises”; “Houses to live in, not for speculation” and other slogans which, like those of teachers, referred to the fact that there always seems to be money to bail out ‘big business’ and banks, but never for the ‘little people’ whose taxes go towards propping up failing businesses and banks.
Interviewed as he carried out an official engagement, President Marcelo said the strength of feeling evident in these protests shows that the government may well have to come up with further measures of public support beyond what has been offered this far.
S.T.O.P’s protest – the fourth taking to the streets in Lisbon since December – ended with a group of teachers mounting a vigil outside parliament which is due to remain in place until Tuesday “in the hope to be heard” by political decision-makers.