Nearly a thousand people demonstrated Saturday in Lisbon at the call of a populist party to denounce the accusations of racism in Portugal, laid within the framework of the anti-racist movement triggered by the death of George Floyd in the United States .
“Portugal, Portugal, Portugal …”, chanted these demonstrators on the main artery of the capital behind a banner proclaiming “Portugal is not racist”, the watchword of this rally.
Surrounded by strict security measures, this demonstration had been convened by the anti-system party Chega (“Enough”) and was intended as a response to left activists who denounced racism and police violence in Portugal in the wake of the movement started by the death of George Floyd, a black man asphyxiated by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
“We want to fight the idea that the Portuguese are racist and the police are criminals,” said André Ventura, leader of the party that entered parliament last year, who called to take to the streets for the first time time.
“No one can give us history lessons. We have 500 years of history, of links with other peoples,” said Ventura, a 37-year-old lawyer and the only deputy from Chega who is regularly talked about. him for his attacks on black or Roma communities.
“Portugal has always welcomed all peoples,” said Jorge Rodrigues, one of the protesters from Faro (south) who wore a green and red mask in the colors of Portugal.
“It is the radical left that spreads this mistaken image of a racist country,” Leonel Neves, a 63-year-old trader who demonstrated for the first time, told AFP.
After making him known in the media, the leader of Chega launched the bet to “take to the streets his right-wing voters” who “are not used to it,” Riccardo Marchi told AFP , researcher at the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE), specialist in radical rights.
“We left that to the left but it had to change,” said Ventura, assuring that there would be other similar demonstrations.
Friday, a group of anti-racist associations had called to demonstrate against Chega before canceling at the last minute, due to the evolution of the epidemic in the Lisbon region which is experiencing an increase in cases of Covid-19.