Portugal, an unreported struggle…

(eagainst.com) On May 1, 2011 in the city of Setubal in Portugal, for the second consecutive year, the anti-authoritarian and anti capitalist May Day protest took place. The event was organised by the anarchist collective, called Terra Libre. Approximately 200 people from various parts of Portugal joined the demonstration, together with some collectives and organizations such as the anarcho-syndicalist union of ΑΙΤ and the Antiwar Platform against NATO (PAGAN).

The march moved peacefully through the main streets of the city, with protesters shouting anti-state slogans (“the people united, do not need a party, ” self-organization”, ” organized people do not need the State”) and handing out leaflets. The response of the locals was positive.

Heavy police was absent during the protest but they appeared when the march reached its final destination, close to the historic neighborhood of Fonte Nova: Everything started when a protester was asked to provide some ID. Soon six other armed men appeared, assaulting the man who was participating in the protest by driving a car and playing music. The officers initially asked him to lower the volume. The atmosphere turned to be aggressive when some officers managed to isolate four protesters who had no IDs as well, and three others who tried to help them. The officers responded with physical violence and pepper spray attacks. They also threw rubber bullets against other demonstrators, and, as some claim, real fire in the air was heard.

The protesters regrouped and counter-attacked with stones, using umbrellas and tables from a nearby restaurant to defend themselves from shots, and finally achieved to temporarily repel the officers who later on re-organized again. The police chose not to approach the neighbourhood, perhaps fearing widespread conflict with other locals, as there were many who tried to defend themselves on the side of demonstrators. Instead, the officers were waiting around the corner for the time where the demonstrators would have to depart. As one protester said:

What we saw in Setúbal was an attempt to impose terrorism police in a demonstration of solidarity and full of vigorous revolt against an intolerable situation: the attack on capitalism and the interference of the IMF in Portugal.

The total number of those injured either by the use of batons or tear gas and rubber bullets (while there are reports in the Portuguese Indymedia that one person was hit by real bullets in both knees) is estimated to be around 30. Most were helped by residents of Setubal. In overall, at least 12 were arrested. All of them claim wild beatings during their transfer to police stations or inside the detention centres. Many people were hit in the neck and a lot of people were hit in the back and abdomen. It should be reported also that this event did not attract the interest of the mainstream media that were completely focused on the death of Osama Bin Laden…

Read more: http://eagainst.com/articles/portugal-an-unreported-struggle/

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