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Portugal: Photos and Videos of October 15 Protests

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis and #Occupy Worldwide.

[All links lead to Portuguese language pages except when otherwise noted]

The non-partisan, secular and peaceful protest arranged [en] for the October 15 in Portugal,  calling for “participatory democracy, transparency in policy and the end of the precariousness of life”, gathered around 80,000 “indignados” (protestors) in the main squares of eight cities around the country.

Two days before on October 13, 2011, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho announced historic cuts for public servants, which provided mottos for many of the posters taken to the streets by demonstrators. Online platforms were used to share photo and video reports of events.

October 15 Demonstration in Porto. Photo by José Ferreira (used with permission).

October 15 Demonstration in Porto. Photo by José Ferreira (used with permission).

Protest in Lisbon

YouTube user João Pedro (immortaltechpt), who shared two videos of the events, sums up the motivation and the course of the day of action in Lisbon:

desde o Marquês de Pombal até S. Bento. A manifestação regeu-se principalmente por uma discórdia para com as medidas de austeridade adoptadas para fazer frente à crise. Adicionalmente expressou-se a vontade de reformar a sociedade e fazer uma transição para uma democracia mais participativa/directa.

from Marquês de Pombal to S. Bento (the Parliament). The demonstration was governed mainly by discord with the austerity measures adopted to cope with the crisis. Additionally the will to reform society and make a transition to a more participatory/direct democracy was expressed.
Concentration in Marquês de Pombal, Lisbon. Photo by José M. on Foursquare

Concentration in Marquês de Pombal, Lisbon. Photo by José M. on Foursquare

After the preparation for the event [photos], those who went by subway to the gathering in Marquês de Pombal might have noticed that the names of the stations had been changed. The direct action O Metro é das pessoas, não é das marcas (The Metro belongs to the people, not to the brands) against the change of the name of the emblematic station Baixa-Chiado, which is now called Baixa-Chiado PT Bluestation following sponsorship by the company Portugal Telecom, proposes a reflection about the privatization of public spaces in times of crisis, playing with words: “Entre-estágios” (Between internships) instead of the station “Entrecampos” (Between fields), or “Baixa-Empregabilidade” (Low employability) for the station “Baixa-Chiado” (Low Chiado).

From the subway to the streets, the following video compiles a selection of photos by Paulete Matos:

The march continued with intervention songs recorded in several citizen-videos such as this one and the following:

The destination was São Bento Street and eventually the occupation of Parliament's steps [videos]:

March of the Indignados. Photo by Debora Baldelli for Global Voices Online.

March of the Indignados. Photo by Debora Baldelli for Global Voices Online.

"This afternoon (October 15) in Lisboa, next to the Assembly of the Republic (4:38pm, before the confusion) #15outubro (#October15)". Photo by Luis Galrão on Twitpic

"This afternoon (October 15) in Lisboa, next to the Assembly of the Republic (4:38pm, before the confusion) #15outubro (#October15)". Photo by Luis Galrão on Twitpic

On Twitter, the hashtag #15oPT made it to the national trending topics, but also #15outubro was used to a lesser extent to report the day of protests. Some of the most active users of this tool directly from the demonstration were the journalist Sara Marques, through her personal account (@sara_marques) and Luis Galrão (@LGalrao), who stated that it is “clear that Twitter is not the elected channel by the lusos (Portuguese) #indignados”.

Occupy Lisbon Begins (15/10/2011). Photo by Fernando Mendes copyright Demotix.

Occupy Lisbon Begins (15/10/2011). Photo by Fernando Mendes copyright Demotix.

A People's Assembly was organized afterwards with around 100 players and several approved proposals, such as the permanence of the occupation, the call for initiatives of peaceful civil disobedience, and a new demonstration on 26 November.

"This Government is a thief because it steals our bread". Demonstrator in Porto. Photo by Diana Rui - www.dianarui.net (used with permission)

"This Government is a thief because it steals our bread". Demonstrator in Porto. Photo by Diana Rui – www.dianarui.net (used with permission)

An anonymous indignado wrote a few thoughts about the organization of the people's assembly, the proposals presented and the time of voting, as he believes that some points may be “not so readily discernible to anyone who makes contact with the event from the outside, through the media”, and he concludes:

é imperioso [pensar] as assembleias como um local de construção de saber e de emancipação e não como um palanque de exposição de pessoas mais atrevidas e eloquentes. É imperioso usar metodologias comprovadas de organização da participação popular. Temos que nos socorrer de profissionais que fazem do estímulo à participação pública o seu mester, para que com eles/elas possamos criar assembleias verdadeiramente participativas. É imperioso também que as organizações/associações/colectivos das sociedade civil sem vínculos partidários se assomem a este processo, minimizando a influência que certos partidos com respectivas agendas têm, para que as assembleias sejam uma verdadeira mostra da vontade das pessoas e não da vontade de certos partidos ou facções.

it is imperative [to think of] the assemblies as a construction site of knowledge and empowerment, and not as a platform for the exposure of daring and eloquent humans. It is imperative to use proven methodologies for the organization of popular participation. We have to use the help of professionals whose art is to make the encouragement of public participation, so that with them we can create genuinely participatory meetings. It is also imperative that organizations/associations/collectives of civil society without links to political parties loom this process, minimizing the influence of certain parties with their own agendas so that the meetings are a true showcase of the will of the people's and not the will of certain parties or factions.

Action in Porto

In the city of Porto around 15,000 demonstrators marched from Batalha Square to Liberdade Square:

Concentration in Batalha Square. Photo shared by the October 15 organization in Porto

Concentration in Batalha Square. Photo shared by the October 15 organization in Porto

March on the Passos Manuel Street. Photo shared by October 15 organization in Porto

March on the Passos Manuel Street. Photo shared by October 15 organization in Porto

An overview of the demonstration on the Aliados Avenue was recorded on video:

"They steal the people to give to the wealthy... I prefer Robin Hood. Direct Democracy". World Revolution for Real Democracy in Porto (15/10/2011). Photo by Pedro Ferreira, copyright Demotix.

"They steal the people to give to the wealthy… I prefer Robin Hood. Direct Democracy". World Revolution for Real Democracy in Porto (15/10/2011). Photo by Pedro Ferreira, copyright Demotix.

Keep calm and protest. Indignados in front of the City Hall. Photo shared by the organization of October 15 in Porto.

Keep calm and protest. Indignados in front of the City Hall. Photo shared by the organization of October 15 in Porto.

"The governments piss all over us! Media tells us it is raining!" (Coimbra, 15/10/2011). Photo by Aurélio Malva shared on Facebook.

"The governments piss all over us! Media tells us it is raining!" (Coimbra, 15/10/2011). Photo by Aurélio Malva shared on Facebook.

The Porto protest also ended with a people's assembly; a list of proposals (not yet available online) will be discussed next Saturday, October 23, in Liberdade Square.

In the aftermath of the protests, Rui Rocha, from the blog Delito de Opinião, wonders if “is there anyone out there who is not indignant“. Through a brief comparative analysis of the October 15 marches and the Scraping-by Generation protests of March 12 – “less protesters in a more degraded social and economical context than then”, he adds:

para lá de tudo isso, das comparações, dos mensageiros, dos propósitos e do contexto, sobra uma mensagem que é impossível ignorar. A de que paira sobre nós um nevoeiro de injustiça, de desequilíbrio, de distribuição enviesada que não pode deixar-nos indiferentes. E, se os motivos, os percursos e as soluções não são consensuais ou mesmo aceitáveis, fica, apesar de tudo, um sentimento de indignação que merece ser partilhado e que tem muito mais adesão do que aquela que hoje foi visível nas nossas ruas.

despite all the comparisons, messengers, purposes and context, a message which is impossible to ignore remains. It says that a fog of injustice, imbalance, skewed distribution that can not leave us indifferent is hanging over us. And if the grounds, paths and solutions are not consensual or even acceptable, there is, after all, a sense of outrage that deserves to be shared and that has much more support than what was visible today on our streets.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis and #Occupy Worldwide.

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