“A serious warning to the nation’s politicians”
Thousands of angry, frustrated people took to the streets of over 20 towns and cities in Portugal yesterday over the dire situation of housing in this country.
The protests combined with the fury of climate activists who constantly rail not enough is being done to assuage the effects of climate change, but they also included elderly people forced out of their homes by rising rental costs.
With left wing politicians playing their part, the focus was on ‘the lack of answers’ from the government and President of the Republic Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, who has now ‘rubber stamped’ the unpopular ‘Mais Habitação’ housing bill, even though he has said time and time again it is not enough. It will make very little difference to the lives of people who cannot afford a home, risk losing one – or have already lost it.
Writing in Correio da Manhã today, deputy editorial director general Eduardo Dâmaso warns that the noisy demonstrations were “a strong signal of social discontent” at a point where the “spiral of interest rates, lack of accessible housing, property speculation and high rents have reached an unsupportable zenith”.
The protests were also “an obvious sign of a government and political system incapable of resolving the real problems of Portuguese citizens” – and “with the economy worsening” it will be difficult “to control popular indignation”, he says.
Housing, health, education, justice – none are in a good place, and the crowds yesterday showed they are frankly tired of waiting for things to change. Signs held aloft referred to “where are the homes of those who make the homes?” “Your profit is our misery”, with the more radical left (Bloco de Esquerda/ PCP communists) amplifying calls for a ‘ceiling on rents’ that otherwise are set to increase by as much as 6.9% in January.
In Lisbon, an estate agency had its window daubed in red paint. Reports say: “PSP police had to make a rapid intervention so that further damage did not take place”.