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MPs ask for 'good sense' policing at Faro Bike Festival

bikersAlgarve Social Democrats have written to the Minister of Internal Affairs in an attempt to get the police to back off during this year's Faro Bike Festival.

"Does it make sense, as has happened, that bikers coming to the festival, whether from within Portugal or from abroad, are pulled over several times in the police STOP operation?" read the letter.

"It is vital to reconcile the requirement of surveillance operations during the festival period with their proportionality, so that the police actions cannot be interpreted by visitors to Faro as a deterrent to participate in this important initiative for the economy," said Algarve MP Cristóvão Norte.

In the letter sent to the new Internal Affairs Minister Anabela Rodrigues, the four Algarve MPs recommend that the festival organisers, Faro council and the police address the issue of security.

The MP’s questions were based on last year's complaints from bikers over excessive policing.

The MPs say that the event organiser, the Moto Clube de Faro, has developed several educational initiatives for road safety for participants and that Faro council is working in the same direction and has met Moto Clube de Faro management and the local police force chiefs to established a plan of action.

Last August the Motoclube de Faro organisers decided that enough was enough and slammed the overbearing police presence and the attitude of officers at the festival.

The Motoclube management called for "a radical change" in the size of the police force and an end to the repressive control of participating bikers.

The club's management wrote to the then Minister of Internal Affairs and copied the local GNR and the Polícia de Segurança Pública - the two forces which came in for fierce criticism.

The President of the Motoclube de Faro, José Amaro, said that if the club was to keep the event going there needs to be a complete and radical change in the attitude and actions of the GNR and PSP, particularly in the way they deal with bikers.

While welcoming a police presence, Amaro disputes the need for a high profile, heavily armed police force toting pistols, shotguns and machine guns, seeing it as hardly welcoming and as unnecessarily confrontational.

The bikers association says that clearly bikers are being persecuted as they arrive from all over Europe to enjoy the Faro festival and despite Amaro having meetings year after year with the local council and police, whatever is agreed never seems to happen.

In 2014 the STOP operation focused on motorcycles over the weekend of the festival. "There are people who were stopped 5 or 6 times. The Spanish coming over for the festival barely get over the Guadiana Bridge before they are stopped," said Amaro.

Whether a letter to the Minister will bring about a change in police attitude remains to be seen but if the police behave as they did last year, the festival may well be pulled or moved over the bridge to Spain.


-9 #1 louis 2015-03-29 15:42
So instead of last year's 20 motards circling Montenegro into the small hours - until they /ran out of gas/fell alseep/got dizzy and fell off their hogs - is an open invite to have 2000 of them doing the same this year.
Perhaps the l.ocal residents might take the law into their own hands this year.
Who knows?