Our Portuguese correspondent Afonso Henriques reports on a serious incident that occurred last weekend in the Portuguese city of Amadora. He included this introductory note:
This is the gravest of all the episodes, and happened last Sunday, the 5th of July. I really think this one deserves special attention. It was actually so severe that all the National TV channels opened their prime time news with it. There’s little to comment about it. All broadcasts indicated that the perpetrators were Africans, and Africans are the majority of the inhabitants in the area in question, a no-go zone.
This is a translation SIC 20:00 (Prime Time) National News, “Nightly News with Clara de Souza” on July 5th:
Clara de Souza: Good evening. Two police officers were shot today in Amadora after being called to an incident in the neighborhood of Santa Filomena. The shooters are at large.
Elements of the security forces make searches in the houses of the neighborhood, in an attempt to find the two shooters of the shotgun blasts that injured two police officers, one in the chest, another in the neck. A few minutes after 3 pm elements of the PSP (Public Security Police) were called to an incident in the neighborhood Casal das Brancas in Amadora. When they made contact with the assailants, the police officers were greeted with shots. Minutes later came reinforcements, minutes after that came the ambulances that drove the injured officers to the hospital. The neighborhood was immediately sealed off by the police. Then, police officers saw individuals with masks who fired shotguns yet again before running away. Both the neighborhoods of Casal das Brancas and the contiguous Santa Filomena are now being patrolled by the police. The frightened inhabitants came into the streets saying that in the last months it’s even harder to live here due to the rise of violence. But to the video cameras, only silence, because the fear of reprisals is real.
The police patrols in the neighborhood, Carla, are still going at this time?
Carla, the reporter: Patrolling is still going at this time and in force. Now the Judiciary Police (PJ) just arrived, Clara. We can see them up there close to the police car that was targeted during the afternoon by the shooters. Two police officers were injured, two police officers who were near here were then called by the PSP station of Amadora to come to this place. The police station received a call around the 3 pm reporting that a robbery was about to take place, an attempt at robbing a goldsmith in this area, and the two officers came to the place. Surprised by the shooters, they were confronted with shotguns. José Mendes from the Association of Police Unions (ASP), how are the injured officers? One of them is in a worse condition?
José Mendes from the ASP: Yes, the indication I have at this moment is that one of the officers is worse than the other. I hope they can recover as fast as possible, and that situations like this one do not happen again, really. Because… please say…
Carla: Just to end this reasoning, one of the officers is in danger of losing an eye.
José Mendes : I also have that indication, unfortunately one of the officers may effectively lose one of his eyes. Possibly. It does not mean that this is effectively true. I hope it will not happen.
Carla: I know you can’t give us much in the way of details because this is under judicial secrecy, but do you have any indication of how the robbery took place, how the police officers were surprised?
José Mendes : No, my lady…
Carla: How were they shot?
José Mendes : I cannot give you those indications. First because I don’t have them and even if I had them I would not divulge them. It is a case that is under judicial secrecy and we respect it, me more than all the others…
Carla: Is this a problematic neighborhood [no-go-zone]?
José Mendes: It is one of the problematic neighborhoods. Unfortunately, the government is not listening to what the Association of Police Unions (ASP) has alerted them to, so that, in reality, the agents of authority or the crimes committed against the agents of authority are not punished, nor the criminals are not punished in reality as a consequence of what they’ve been doing.
Carla: Thank you very much, and I hope your colleagues get better.
José Mendes: Thank you.
Carla: According to what the note of the Association of Police Unions to the government says, I remember that one of the officers is in a worse situation. The information we received, this according to José Mendes, the officer may lose an eye. The two officers were shot from behind when they were coming to this place. The neighborhood we see in front of us is a social neighborhood with hundreds of people, a neighborhood considered problematic, as we heard José Mendes say. It is reported that there are various daily robberies here in the area. This afternoon, around 3pm the PSP station in Amadora received this call, the officers went to the place and were surprised by robbers. They were armed, fired shotguns and now the cordon around the neighborhood continues, with entry and exit being registered, are being recorded by the police. No one is allowed to enter the neighborhood and it’s not easy to get out. We don’t know how long this neighborhood will be sealed off. It’s a normal cordon, it’s a normal operation, according to what the PSP has told us, in order to try to find the perpetrators of the shootings of this afternoon.
Witness: Look, I think it was about 4 pm, more or less. When I was there at the window and heard the first shot. Immediately after, in less than a second or two, followed six or seven shots. That’s when I looked in that direction, to the top of that avenue where those policemen were by then, and I saw a stopped bus, a police car stopped at the side, and two black males — that’s what I saw; listen, I saw them, I didn’t see anybody else — who ran away across that rise.
Then, I went to the place, and I saw one of the officers, officer Sousa, lying on the floor. He was on the floor, he had been injured with to shotgun shots… pellets, you know, it’s not a bullet in itself but it is pellets… And the other officer was also sitting there covered with blood…
Witness: Conscious, conscious but, he was trying to remain calm and with two colleagues next to him telling him not to fall asleep, which is fundamental, right? I was assisting for a while until the ambulances arrived.
Reporter: For what you understood, there was a response from the authorities?
Witness: Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes there was. There was at least — I calculate — there was a response of one or two shots, what led me to believe that they were able to shoot back.
Afonso adds this postscript:
The oldest police officer was 25 years old, the other 23 and one of them will most likely lose an eye — and thus, most likely, the job as well. It really, really seems to be an ambush.
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