More than one thousand returned Angolan refugees stages a mass march through the Portuguese capital, Lisbon on Saturday (13 December) to protest against government restrictions on the exchange of Angolan currency.
LV Demonstrators marching with banners from Rossio Square. (2 shots)
LV AND CU Demonstrators marching chanting through narrow streets.(4 shots)
SV ZOOM OUT Police assembling outside National Assembly building.
SV PAN Section of demonstration marching up Assembly building steps and halted by police line. (2 shots)
LV Demonstrators outside National Assembly.
Initials VS 21.20 21.30
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: More than one thousand returned Angolan refugees stages a mass march through the Portuguese capital, Lisbon on Saturday (13 December) to protest against government restrictions on the exchange of Angolan currency.
At the moment, the refugees are allowed to change only 5,000 Angolan escudos into Portuguese money -- a move aimed at protecting the already unstable Portuguese economy.
It is estimated that some 350,000 people returned to Portugal from Angola before the territory gained independence last month. Over 30,000 are staying in hotels and boarding houses in the Lisbon area along.
Many hope to return to Angola at some future stage...but at the moment, they are experiencing great difficulty in finding work. Portuguese employers seem to prefer to take on native Portuguese rather than the Angolan "retornados".
The refugees -- now living on a small government allowance -- are taking great pains to point out that they too are Portuguese. At Saturday's rally, the main chant was "We are Portuguese -- not Communists."
Popular opinion has tended to regard the refugees as politically dangerous right-wing elements. Both the Portuguese authorities and the leaders of refugee groups have expressed fears that provocateurs are infiltrating the ranks of the returnees in order to worsen the already tense situation.
Saturday,s rally is the first major action taken by the refugees on the exchange regulations problems since last August's attempt to occupy the premises of the Bank of Angola.
SYNOPSIS: More than one thousand returned Angolan refugees marched through the streets of the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, on Saturday to protest against government restrictions on the exchange of Angolan currency. At present, they're only allowed to change a maximum of five thousand Angolan escudos into Portuguese money.
It's estimated there are more than 350-thousand returnees in Portugal, refugees who fled from Angola before the territory gained independence last month. Many left with little or no luggage, and are now dependent on a small government allowance. Unemployment is high throughout the country, but employers seem to prefer to take on native Portuguese, leaving many of the refugees without the prospect of a job for a long time to come. Lisbon -- where some thirty thousand "retornados" are now staying -- is among the worst affected areas.
Police reinforcements were brought in to protect the National Assembly building -- target of the refugees' march. A representative group attempted to voice their protests to Assembly members....but were turned back. The Government's reluctant to waive the currency exchange regulations for fear that an influx of Angolan money might further upset t he country,s unsteady economy. Saturday's march was the first major action taken by refugees on the exchange problem since last August's attempt to occupy the Bank of Angola.