Obviously, compared to the parade that went down Av. da Liberdade shouting the same words since 30 years ago, this demo took a more combative and radical look, with words for today and not for the past.
In this sense, it was the answer that had to be given to the growing of the fascist provocation of the late times here in portugal. It was also the first time, since i remember, that a demonstration in April's 25th had a way of combat and conflict up to the ones that occured during the 18 folowing months of April 25th 1974.
Since then, the demonstration had the advantage not to be directed at the general and conformed image that celebrates democracy we have, but rather to express the will of liberation that caracterized the revolutionary period.
Arriving at Lg. Camões, most of the demo went away. The rest, around 50 persons, felt something was left undone and decided to do the circuit the other way around, in order to reach PNR's (the nazi fascist partie) headquarters. In that direction, went down Garret street passing by a considerable amount of police and followed very closely by some undercover cops.
By that point, the demo was composed by a nucleous of face-covered dressed in black people, as well as many people that just wanted to see what would happen. This spontaneous demo was way smaller than the one that had gone up, and carried by enthusiasm, the people in the front of the demo were walking at a fast pace. By Armazéns do Chiado, and after a brief hesitation to decide wich the best way, it went down Carmo street. By this point, some demonstrators banged some outposts and paint bombs were thrown at multinationals. Chiado was way emptier than one hour before, wich is actually normal.
It was then that a couple of protestors stoped to wrote a graffiti: "25th of april has gone, but the law of the the bat remains". The remaining people advanced, except for a small group that stayed back in order to guarantee their mates security, still shouting for people to wait. When the graffiti was done, a group of undercover cops, possibly from SSecret SServices or something similar, surrounded the two authors and tried to arrest them, being instead surrounded by the small group that stayed behind. A quick exchange of pushes allowed the pigs to understand they were not dealing with a bunch of frightened kids. They then let go of the people they were trying to arrest, pulled out extendable bats, and backed away together. One of the pigs was talking over the radio calling for the riot police. The rest of the demonstration that had already passed the st. justa escalator, realising that something was happening in their back ran to the back, where their mates were shouting against the undercover pigs. A very-light was thrown into the air. Two vans arrived at the bottom of the street and another at the top, blocking all the exits out of this street. The passengers came out, and charged. The around twenty cops down at the bottom were waiting to slaughter everything that came, and the ones from the top, were violently banging everyone, telling them to go down, as the ones down just didnt let you escape without getting a beaten. Not all the cops had shields and helmet. A lot of protesters tried to withstand the police charge, but many just stood against the wall or hid in shops. The ones who tried to resist them, were beaten, the ones who didn't try to resist were beaten, tourists were beaten, people that were just passing by at the wrong time, at the wrong place were beaten by the portuguese police bastards. The boss of the riot cops yelled at his robocops to stop after the first charge, since there was not a resistence worthy of such amount of violence, and what was happening now, was just beating of protesters. He had no success and realising it, joined his men, doing what they do best. The cops that came down Rua do Carmo, yelled people to go down while beating them, the ones that went up yelled people to go up, beating them, naturally. Everyone that fell down was kicked and beaten. The ones that stood against the wall, were also beaten, most of them not beating back. Everyone that replied their violence was specially attacked, but most of the protestors were able to keep the cops at a certain distance and escape by the bottom of the street, being followed and separating next.
Twelve people were arrested being most of them beaten up while already hand-cuffed, the good old police way. It's also hard to believe that if someone in the demonstration, had in fact molotov cocktails, and beholding such a passionate demonstration of democratical police authority, would even hesitate to use them. They would have atleast had the advantage of keeping the cops away time enough for most people to run. In that way, the riot police charge, gave every reason to all the people who took flags with steel poles to the demo. Bare hands are not exactly the apropriate tools to fight the police authority. It has also to be said, that had the demo showed a firm intent and tactic thinking to resist, it wouldn't have been so hard to make the police withdraw.
Organized as a bunch of idiots who like to beat scared people up, with no organization or method, the riot police is nothing but a gang of bullies in uniforms and equipped at our expenses. Someday they'll get to know something more than soccer matches.
To finish, authority, power, the monopoly of violence, private propriety are so widely written in our imaginaries, that it even sounds weird someone would defy those pilars of western civilization. We seem only capable of regreting the "excessive" police violence. I remember to this purpose, that police violence in Portugal was always excessive, except of course, when it's about powerful criminals. About the neo-nazi groups, the police authorities handle it as if it was nothing more than a radical and paramilitary unit of Migration and Borders office.
Once and for all, the pigs beat people because they're frightened. And they should be. Violence is neither good nor bad. Violence is.
On more recent devellopments, all the arrested mates were released yesterday, 26th of april. They are now being charged with vandalism and disrespect towards authority. Their lawyer has already declared they had no violent intents, and they are now charging the police officers by severall injuries.
The police version of what happened insists 5 police officers were injured and only 2 protesters, but the truth that we all know happened, was that lots os people were injured, I mean, most people were injured, and only five cops had the same treatment.
The mates that were arrested were received outside the courthouse by many anti-fascist supporters, with joy and cheers, so that they know, we will always be together, and no mate should be left behind. Every prisioner is political!
It was since long time, the first time in portugal, that people stood (at least for 5 minutes) for something they believe in.
The first time I've seen us trying to withstand the riot police charge, and who knows, maybe next time, we can.
talking and pictures:
street video right after the confrontations.
- RTP1 (news with handycam video see Telejornal, 1ª e 2ª parte):
- TVI (news with handycam video):
- Expresso (pictures of the demo and the confrontations):
- Expresso (video of the repression):
- Diário Digital (25 de Abril: arrested mates let go, with residence and identity procedure)
- here too:
Anarchists from Lisbon