Welcome to the Week em Breve! This Week’s News in Portugal: Bad Bankers Still Get Bonuses, Police Station Firebombed, Maintenance Workers Caused Train Derailment, Portugal Has a Hefty Budget Surplus, and much more!
Police Respond to Protest Against Police Violence
A demonstration on Monday held by the “residents of Bairro da Jamaica, Setúbal” began in Praça do Comércio and hoped to challenge racism and police violence. Between 17h and 18h, the demonstrators moved into downtown Lisbon, where several “incidents” occurred, eventually resulting in an exchange of rocks and rubber bullets at Marquis of Pombal and Avenida da Liberdade. The rubber bullets were allegedly fired into the air.
Setúbal Suffers String of Molotov Attacks
A day after the Lisbon clashes, the police station in the Bela Vista neighborhood of Setúbal was firebombed. During the early hours of the morning, three Molotov cocktails were allegedly used to damage the station and one non-police car. Nobody was injured and the fire was brought under control. As of now, it has not been linked to the Lisbon clashes, but it is open as a line of investigation, according to the Polícia de Segurança Pública. The station attack followed several others that targeted trash cans and cars in various Setúbal neighborhoods.
Could We See PSP TV?
In response to the violence in Lisbon, calls have been made for the introduction of body cams — cameras attached to the uniform to serve as evidence — for the PSP. The PSP, in fact, already stock these cameras, but they are not in widespread use due to legislation, according to Armando Ferreira, president of Sinapol (a police union). Talks have taken place already about trials in certain neighborhoods, and the police and their unions appear to support more widespread use of cameras.
Train Derailment Due to Incorrect Maintenance, Report Finds
Yet another blow to Portugal’s train lines comes with a report on the causes of a 2017 derailment in Coimbra. The accident saw nine carriages carrying cement leave the tracks and cause extensive damage to the line between Souselas and Coimbra. The recent report found that the accident was due to poor maintenance carried out the day before the derailment, with the work crew failing to follow proper procedures because of a lack of adequate training. The report highlights the slow loss of knowledgeable workers who are not replaced at the Infraestruturas de Portugal, the body responsible for railway maintenance, as a major factor.
Bankers Always Get Their Bonuses
Caixa Geral de Depósitos is in the hot seat this week after an Ernst & Young audit revealed that bank directors received bonuses despite negative performance. The study focussed on the period between 2000 and 2015 and was especially critical of the bank’s actions between 2000 and 2008, when “there was no evidence of the guiding principles for variable remuneration applied” but the bonuses getting awarded despite failures.
An Increase in the Number of Brazilians in Lisbon
In 2017, the number of Brazilians immigrating to Portugal rose by 5.1%, and 2018 saw the trend continue, as Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras confirms a significant increase. While no fixed figures exist yet, the number of visits to the Brazilian embassy rose from 300 a day to over 760. This is not a new wave but rather a resurgence due to Portugal’s growing economy and the closing borders of America and the UK, according to sociologist Pedro Góis. Furthermore, Brazilians don’t need entry visas for Portugal, unlike many other countries, so getting into work is easier.
Portugal Reveals Largest Budget Surplus Since the Turn of the Century
Portugal has the biggest budget surplus since the introduction of the Euro back in 1999. The third quarter showed a 3.6% surplus, making it the fourth time since 1999 that the country had a surplus. This is down to economic growth, lower public investment, and heavy tax, according to Joao Duque, a finance professor at the University of Lisbon’s School of Economics and Management.
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