Hundreds of refugees who've arrived in Lisbon from Angola staged a protest on Thursday (3 September) demanding that their Angolan bank notes be exchanged for Portuguese money.
Hundreds of refugees who've arrived in Lisbon from Angola staged a protest on Thursday (3 September) demanding that their Angolan bank notes be exchanged for Portuguese money. They claimed the Government rejected their demands.
Despite a cordon of soldiers from Portugal's Copcon Internal Security Forces -- the refugees occupied the Bank of Angola and refused to leave until their demands were met.
After arguing with the demonstrators for several hours the soldiers departed, leaving police and National Republican Guard formations behind.
But a spokesman for the refugees claimed both the police and the Guard units were on their side. He said that many of them had served in Angola, and they understood why the protest was being made.
The refugees -- part of an expected 300 thousand white settlers due to leave the west African territory for Lisbon before it becomes independent on 11 November -- also want the repatriation of all their goods from Angola and compensation for all the money they were forced to leave behind in non-transferable accounts.
The Portuguese Government has so far made no public statement about the refugees grievances. But the spokesman for the protest group said that the Finance Minister had rejected their requests.
The Bank of Angola earlier this year suspended the exchange of Angolan banknotes held both in Portugal and in the African territory.