Portugal: police protests take radical turn

Riots erupted outside a football stadium in Portugal on Saturday after dozens of police officers scheduled to provide security called in sick in an apparent labour protest. A police union representative said police may also boycott security at the parliamentary elections to be held on 10 March. The police and National Republican Guard are demanding more resources for the country's security services, but the provisional government says it is not responsibile for such measures.

Open/close all quotes
Público (PT) /

Openly threatening with a coup d'état

Público fears that the situation could escalate:

“What happened on Saturday with the fraudulent medical leave of police officers who refused to work at the match between Famalicão and Sporting - clashes between fans of both clubs outside the stadium - could happen again. That's what the union leader told the country in his memorable statement, in which he hinted at the possibility of a coup d'état. ... The police are perfectly within their rights, but the union platform's letter to the government is unacceptable because it threatens that the next protests by the security forces could take place beyond the confines of the law.”

Correio da Manhã (PT) /

Lisbon too inactive

Correio da Manhã sees the government as partly responsible for the tense situation:

“The socialist government is playing with fire at the end of its mandate. Its careless handling of the police officers' demands risks turning the country into a powder keg here and there. And rather than serving the just struggle of these professional groups it plays into the hands of the political spectrum that exploits the situation. And it promotes unacceptable threats against the rule of law, such as those voiced yesterday by a trade union leader.”