More than 5,000 refugees from the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique attended a rally in Lisbon's Sports Pavilion on Tuesday (18 May) night.
More than 5,000 refugees from the former Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique attended a rally in Lisbon's Sports Pavilion on Tuesday (18 May) night. The refugees are attempting to set up an umbrella organisation to represent all the refugees, now totalling over 800,000.
The rally was arranged by the CSI (Independent Social Centre), in an effort to form an organisation strong enough to pressure the Portuguese government into granting the refugees' demands for jobs and housing.
The President of the CSI, Senor Pompilio de Cruz, said the refugees should refuse to be move out of hotels at the end of this month as scheduled, unless suitable accommodation is arranged, not barracks or jails. Senor de Cruz said that the rally would be followed by meetings throughout Portugal to organise plans for a concerted campaign supporting refugee demands.
Of the 800,000 refuges from the former Portuguese colonies, fewer than five per cent have found jobs. Many are embittered by what they see as discriminatory action by the government.
Following the Sports Pavilion rally, there were clashes with police as about 700 refugees were taking trains to the suburbs. Police were called in when the refugees refused to pay for tickets and scuffles broke out with railway employees. Six police and one refugee were injured.