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Portugal's President to face anti-oil protests in Faro

rebelodesousaPortugal’s President is in Faro on Saturday, March 18th, and will be faced with an anti-oil and gas demonstration outside a conference "For the Excellence of the Economy of the Algarve."

The President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and the Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, are to attend the conference organised by Algfuturo at the School of Hospitality and Tourism of the Algarve.

The irony of the venue may not register with the president and the minister as one of the central themes of the anti-oil movement is the effects on tourism should even a small oil spillage hit one of the Algarve’s pristine beaches.

The demonstrators from local groups, swelled by others who view the government’s plans for oil and gas production as contrary to ecological commitments and detrimental to tourism, will gather at 09:00 and aim to stay all day with plenty of opportunity for the media to interview leaders and to film the protest.

The activists already have sent an open letter to government, calling for the resignation of the Minister of the Sea, Ana Paula Vitorino, whose sales pitch to oil companies in Washington last September was contrary to the government stance that it ‘just wants to know what resources are out there.’

The deliberate shelving of a 42,000 signature petition against oil production as part of a supposed ‘public consultation period, has not helped the government convince anyone that its policy statement is anything more than a sham and that it is determined to allow oil companies to drill and pump with little resulting revenue to the Treasury.

The open letter from Algarve Free from Oil, demands:

  • The immediate dismissal of the Minister for the Sea and the Minister for the Environment.
  • To know the position of the Minister of Economy in relation to the oil prospecting contracts
  • That a parliamentary inquiry be set up to investigate how the contracts for the exploration and exploitation of oil were authorised in the face of huge public opposition, which was dismissed.
  • That a complaint be made to the Public Prosecutor's Office to assess how the contracts were signed under conditions of such secrecy and without the consent of the Portuguese public.
  • That the local councils transmit to the prime minister their dissatisfaction with the disrespect with which they have been treated and with the deep contempt shown for the participation of the public.