These extensive translations by our Portuguese correspondent Afonso Henriques have been sitting on my desk for a while, awaiting editing. Fortunately, the issues he highlights in these articles are not particularly time-sensitive.
The stories below bear a remarkable similarity to the reports of attacks on the German police, as translated last night by VH.
Afonso has gathered ten days’ worth of cultural enrichment from Portugal in the articles below.
Saturday, 15th August 2009
A report from the newspaper O Correio da Manhã:
PSP [Public Security Police] officers fire into the air after being surrounded by a hundred people defending a drug dealer.
Detention Provokes Chaos at the End of the World [Fim do Mundo neighborhood]
The detention in of a 29-year-old man “caught red-handed” trafficking in drugs provoked yesterday a true chaos in the Fim do Mundo neighborhood, in Cascais. Everything took place in the morning, when three officers from the Criminal Investigation Squad of Cascais found the man selling drugs. While being questioned, the suspect offered resistance and around one hundred people gathered and surrounded the officers, threatening, insulting and in some cases even physically attacking them.
The back-up forces called to the place had to fire twice into the air in order to disperse the populace. A 32-year-old women was also arrested for physical attacks against the officers. The arrested man was in the country illegally and was on “suspended parole” [he was supposed to be in jail but he was not because the judge suspended his sentence for some reasons] due to several crimes. 46 packages of heroin were confiscated.
This incident follows another from last May in which two officers were injured after being attacked with stones during an intervention in the same neighborhood.
The Fim do Mundo neighborhood is located on the Cascais line in the Greater Lisbon Area and the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants are Africans.
Security: Locals and business owners live in fear of robberies.
“Crime Is Killing Setúbal”
Fear. “Of being robbed”, “stabbed”, “of having a gun at one’s head”. “Of being beaten”. “Of losing the car”. “Of being killed.” This is the feeling that dominates an entire city: Setúbal. The same city that registered 38,532 crimes in 2008. The distrust is permanent. In the downtown, the noble zone par excellence, it is even worse. Shops and cafés close ever earlier. And not even the presence of reinforcements from the Body of Intervention of the PSP [Public Security Police] bring any tranquility in the face of the wave of criminality that spreads fear throughout the city.
This is the case for Fernanda Correia, wife of the goldsmith murdered last year in August during a robbery. She lives ‘permanently locked’, only a few hundred meters from the Municipal House, where the police vans are stationed. She reopened “Jóias do Bocage” [Bocage Jewelry] after putting bars on the door and getting the gold out of the store. The usual business gave way to the ‘fixing of watches, wires, and bracelets’. The transaction is made through a small window. The gold store is open, but the door is closed. The business almost ended. ‘Because I am afraid.’
A few meters away, a toy store, robbed ‘about a week ago’. The owner does not reveal his identity but speaks about the security problems in the city. It takes long time to complete, given the dimension of the list. He finishes by lamenting the potential the city had and that meanwhile has been lost. ‘And the dire consequences for business.’
‘Even the kind of houses people buy have changed in the last year. Nobody wants to live isolated in a “vivenda” [gardened house, usually big, often associated with luxury],’ says Fernando Trovão, a real estate agent, victim of a carjacking at the door of the house of José Mourinho in 2008. ‘The city is dangerous and violence is open. Setúbal had everything to be a success. But the crime is killing the city,’ he laments.
Paying For Safety
If in Setúbal downtown the establishments close ever earlier, in the docks [close to the sea/river] there are those who opt to pay the PSP to be able to keep the door open. The victims of a robbery with a handgun on February the 7th, the owners of the “Pancada do Mar” installed a video vigilance system in the café, but ‘because not even that works’, they requested that the PSP put an officer at the door. ‘We’re waiting for an answer. I don’t know if it will be a solution, but after that robbery…’ Isabel Trindade tells us. ‘Before that, I had a normal life. Now I always suspect all the people who enter the café. And even at home I am scared by any little noise,’ she confesses.
‘We Were All Already Robbed ‘
For drivers of the hundreds of taxis of Setúbal the fear is also felt. ‘The city is super-insecure. Robberies are constant. I guarantee you that there is no colleague who has not been assaulted,’ say Alberto Lopes, a taxi driver for more than 20 years. April makes a year since I was the victim. In the same night they “did” another taxi driver,’ he says. Júlio Sousa, 36 years old, 12 of them as taxi driver in Setúbal, says practically the same. His turn came in December: ‘They put a knife at my throat and took the money I had earned that day. Now I don’t work at night anymore. And even during the day, for instance, if it is to the Bela Vista neighborhood I only stop in front of the police station.’ Three taxi drivers later and we concluded that the stories are the same. Only the day and the place vary. ‘As long as the feeling of impunity does not end, we’re screwed,’ says Júlio Sousa. According to the official data of the Ministry of Internal Administration, in 2008 there were 18 confirmed reports of assaults on taxi drivers in Setúbal.
Three Brazilians were talking at the Bocage Plaza. They came from Minas Gerais. One is a naval locksmith, another a welder, and the third works with trucks. They deny the presence of organized groups in Setúbal (it was reported that the Brazilian PCC was operating in Setubal and on the Southern bank of the Tagus), but they admit that a great share of the criminality is generated by Brazilians. ‘Those are very young people. Those inexperienced criminals that we in Brazil call chicken-catchers, those who steal in the gardens of the neighbors,’ says José Santos, aged 30. ‘That is the problem. A chicken-catcher in Brazil comes to Portugal and becomes a first-category robber,’ says José Filho, aged 44.
One Face Among 131 Carjackings
Fernando Trovão, a real estate agent, is one of the 131 victims of carjacking in 2008 in the district of Setúbal. On a September morning he was waiting for his children at the door of his home when he was threatened with firearms. The car was taken by the robbers and was recovered in the next day after had been used in a robbery of an ATM in Algarve (some 180-200 kms away). ‘The worst of all is the feeling of impotence. I sold my car and now use a small car that is slow and does not catch anyone’s attention.’
The PJ (Judiciary Police) of Setúbal this week finished the investigation of the murder of José Pereira. Edivaldo Rodrigues, the Brazilian who in August of 2008 executed the man with a shot in the head will answer to an accusation of qualified murder.
ATM Gang Continues
They are about 20 members living in the Bela Vista neighborhood that are behind the hundreds of robberies of ATMs — they have already made two million euros. Three of them were captured in 2008, but the robberies continue.
According to the Annual Report of Internal Safety (RASI), in 2008 38,532 crimes were registered in the district of Setubal, more 3.2% higher than last year. About 700 were classified as violent crimes.
Pharmacy: Another Robbery
The day before yesterday, at 19.45, three masked men robbed the pharmacy Cunha Pinheiro, at the Camarinha street. With a gun, they took 300 euros.
PSP: The Weakest Ratio in the Country
In Setúbal there is a police officer for every 400 inhabitants. In the rest of the country there is one for every 200 citizens. Due to government reforms in 2008, the PSP of Setúbal gained an extra hundred thousand inhabitants but not even one extra officer.
Setúbal is a city that has traditionally dominated the Peninsula of Setúbal, just south of Lisbon. In the north of that peninsula lies what is commonly referred to as the Southern Bank of the Tagus, part of the Greater Lisbon Area, while Setubal lies in the south and outside of it. Since the beginning of the century the city has received a great deal of cultural enrichment, especially from Brazil. The social neighborhood of Bela Vista, among others, is inhabited in its majority by Africans and Gypsies. By all means, not all the crime in Setubal is committed by “Cultural Enrichers” but it is safe to say that a majority of the criminality is.
If I had to guess, I’d say that some 35% of the people are non-white Brazilians and other third-worlders, especially Africans. But I’d say the overwhelming majority are Brazilians.
Also, some Muslim “ghettos” exist nearby but the Muslims live in healthy semi-exclusive neighborhoods and commit little of the crime. The Muslim population is very well educated. In the early XXI century there were some problems with Muslim extremism, traffic of weapons and financial support to terrorist nets but I never heard of it again.
Monday, 17th August 2009
According to the alternative news agency Novopress:
Stones, Bottles and Shots against the PSP [Public Security Police] in Cova da Moura
According to news in the Economic Journal, on the night of Saturday, around 22.30, forces of the PSP in the neighborhood of Cova da Moura were stoned by a group of locals, after a red bike was ordered to stop. The driver of the CBR 600 tried to escape and was detained by the police. After that, several dozen locals tried to surround the officers, throwing stones and bottles at them.
The locals continued to attack the PSP with stones and an individual actually shot twice which led the police forces to open fire with rubber bullets.
This is one more incident in the neighborhood of Cova da Moura in Amadora, inhabited by African immigrants and their descendents.
Cova da Moura is the ghetto of the country. Virtually only inhabited by Africans, the majority being Cape Verdans, it is legendary for its no-go zone status that is recognized everywhere in the country. It is the greatest exporter of criminality in the area of Greater Lisbon and the neighborhood is legendary for its gangs, criminality and violence. As a curiosity, Cova da Moura means “lair of the Muslim women”.
Wednesday, 19th August 2009
Article from the “newspaper of reference”, O Diário de Notícias:
Assaulted Police Officers Obliged To Pay The Costs
Two police officers of the PSP [Public Security Police] were attacked in Amadora. The two attackers were found guilty in court, but because they presented a “certification of poverty” they were excused from paying compensation for the moral and physical damages caused to the officers. The officers, however, received nothing, were then notified that they must pay the costs of the process: 400 euros from each officer.
Two police officers of the PSP were attacked in Amadora. The attackers were accused of crime against the authority and ended up being found guilty in court. But because they presented a certificate of poverty they were excused from paying a compensation for the moral and physical damages caused on the assaulted. Although the police officers did not receive a thing, they were then notified by the court that they must pay the costs of the judicial process: around 400 euros from each officer. The officers were attacked on duty and still have to pay the state for it. One of the officers formally requested to pay such debt [Yes, Baron, the newspaper used the term debt] through soft “prestações” [to pay, for instance, €40 a month for ten months].
Everything happened in 2004. The two police officers of the transit [movement of cars] division of Amadora were passing through one of the main streets of the city when they were alerted to a disorder that was taking place nearby, with several individuals involved. When they arrived at the place, the officers came out of their car with the purpose of restoring public order. Despite that, one of the officers was soon hit by a punch in the chest. And the officer was also not free from some injuries of the style “you son of a wh*re…, c******king cop…, I’ll beat you up…”, as we can read in the record of the judicial process consulted by DN [the newspaper].
The aggressor was still swearing at the officer, who was trying to immobilize the aggressor, when a second individual stepped in to stop the action of the police. The second police officer then tried to defend his partner. But he was soon kicked by this second aggressor, who was not kind with words either: “You’re hitting my buddy, I’m going to take your uniform, you son of a wh*re…, sh***y cop…, you sh***y m**********r…”
The police officers were injured so badly they had to be assisted in a hospital, and their uniforms were not in a good shape either [I think they mention the state of the uniforms, not only for the offense against the uniform/authority but mainly because in Portugal the uniform of a PSP officer is expensive and it is the police officer who has to buy and maintain it]. The officers were only saved from the worst due to the quick action of the 4th team of Fast Intervention of the PSP that was close by.
The two aggressors were detained. The first, with head injuries, went to the Amadora-Sintra Hospital and got out at 04.16.
The second was directed towards the police station but ended up in the same hospital after blood was detected in his ear. In this case, the police officers claim not to know how the injury was made.
The first officer, attacked with punches in the chest, decided not to go to the hospital. The second one, on the other hand, had to receive medical treatment although the injuries were not severe.
The judicial process came next. Once it was a public crime, the Public Ministry accused the two aggressors. The two policemen were constituted assistants to the process, and asked for a compensation of three thousand euros for physical, moral and patrimonial damage. The police officers had explicitly stated that that money, if the aggressors were deemed to pay it, would be directed towards the Association for the Support of the Victim (APAV).
The two aggressors were condemned to pay a fine. But they presented a certificate of poverty for being unemployed. This declaration excused them from paying the compensation to the police officers. But these same police officers, five years after the judgment, now have to pay the costs of the process that derives only from the fact that they asked for compensation, although they received nothing. Next time, we better “take the beating and shut up”, said to the DN a source from the police union.
Baron, since it happened in Amadora at that time, I’d say that there is a more than 80% chance that the aggressors were Africans and 10% chance they were another kind of Enricher.
Thursday, 20th August 2009
From the newspaper O Diabo:
The commercial center Dolce Vita Tejo, the biggest in the country, in Amadora, is being punished with “arrastões” [massive groups of youths that appear and form waves dragging (arrastar) everything in their way: Robbing what they like, beating if they want] by groups of youths of the nearby neighborhoods, O Diabo reports through a police source. But the administrator of the massive center says he is “bothered by the rumors”.
The crimes take place when the shopping center is full of customers, during weekends or holidays. The victims file reports in the police station installed inside the same shopping center, but the PSP [Public Security Police] are powerless to stop the violence that takes place when there are too many people walking by. Several clients state that in the halls and galleries of the shopping center groups of more than 20 youths surround the clients and make them give up their money and belongings, like mobile phones or iPods, under threat.
It became worse in the days just before the summer vacation. The PSP of Amadora, which runs the police station inside the shopping center, has already identified several of the youths that are from the Casal da Mira. [This is a heavily African neighborhood with the second ethnicity being that of the gypsies]. These are youths who spend days “studying” the shopping center and know the environment well.
But it’s not only youths that are targets of such violence. The stores, especially those specializing in clothes, footwear, and electronic devices, already know that once a group of youths steps inside they are “doomed” to lose several hundreds of Euros in merchandise. According to a police officer, groups numbering more than fifty youths have even entered a “megastore” and left it literally empty.
When it is 18:00 two extra policemen join those already serving, amounting to a full force of four police officers, for the entire shopping center, which has 122,000 square meters, which means a police officer for every thirty thousand square meters.
But the news of insecurity is not being well received by Manuel Henriques, administrator of the shopping center. “I am deeply bothered by the rumors that are being spread by some agents of the PSP. These rumors are not good.” And he has already taken measures to silence the police: “We have sent the PSP a manifesto asking for the origin of these rumors, which we know are not true. We ask, therefore, that they immediately cease with these insinuations, because there is no base of truth in them.”
Saturday, 22nd August 2009
An article from the newspaper O Correio da Manhã:
Sintra: 27-year-old man had 11 years in jail to fulfill [he was sentenced to 11 years in jail but was free. Nobody knows why.]
Aggressor of GNR [National Republican Guard] Arrested by PSP [Public Security Police]
The description made by the GNR helped the commandant of the PSP Station of São Marcos, at Cacém [Sintra Line, Greater Lisbon Area], to arrest yesterday the 27-year-old Cape Verdan who, on the night of August the 9th, wildly beat and stole the gun of a guard of the division of Sintra.
With a sentence of 11 years of jail for traffic of drugs, the suspect did not leave the municipality of Sintra after he had beaten the military men of the GNR in Terrugem.
At 18:15 on Thursday, the commandant of the PSP of São Marcos, Cacém, with the help of another officer detected the suspect on the street Cidade Belo Horizonte. The man, who tried to escape, was intercepted and detained after running a few meters, although he tried to attack the police officers once more. The gun of the military man of the GNR, which the arrested had offered to a friend, was recovered. The 27-year-old was turned over to the Judiciary Police, who took him to the prison of Lisbon where he will have to serve an eleven-year sentence he had been previously condemned to.
And now, a report from the alternative news agency Novopress:
Pedro Silva Pereira Reveals the Number of the “New Portuguese”
According to the Minister of the Presidency, Pedro Silva Pereira, 45,000 immigrants obtained Portuguese nationality under the new law for foreigners that came into force in December of 2006. [Please note that these “Nationalized” immigrants are no longer counted among the “immigrant” population but are included in the Portuguese population for all purposes. Also, for a country of 10 million people, 45,000 in three years is 0.5% of the population. Given that the majority came from the Lisbon Area with three million inhabitants…]
These “New Portuguese” include 16,300 children born in Portugal to parents with a legal status of residency for a minimum of five years, and 29,000 foreign citizens who have lived in the country for a minimum of six years.
The new law permits the acquisition of Portuguese nationality by foreigners who reside legally in Portugal for six years [previously, the minimum period had been ten years] and show some knowledge of the language. The foreigners that are married or living in “union of fact” with a Portuguese citizen for three years can also acquire Portuguese nationality. The law also permits the attribution of Portuguese nationality to citizens born in Portugal who are children of foreigners also born in Portugal or who have a parent living in Portugal for five years or more.
The Minister Silva Pereira, presenting the Plan for the Integration of Immigrants, indicated that in the last three years more 18,300 people received a title of residence and more than 30,000 regularized their situation. According to the new law, an immigrant, established in Portugal without an authorization of residence can legalize himself if he has a “labor relationship” and is enrolled in social welfare.
Tuesday, 25th August 2009
Tuesday afternoon the National TV channel SIC, opened the lunch news with this. A translation of the video is below. “Chief” means the Chief of the Public Security Police of Setúbal and the Southern Bank of the Tagus, Bastos Leitão, and “Leader” means the leader of an organization neighborhood residents:
Reporter: These are the marks of an excessively violent night. When the police arrived they were received with stones and Molotov cocktails late at night. There was exchange of shots with the rioters; the first patrol was received with so much violence that they had to retreat and only come back with reinforcements.
Chief: A patrol of the PSP came to the place, and as it came to the place it was stoned and a Molotov cocktail was thrown at that patrol. Reinforcements were requested and the rioters ran towards the interior of the neighborhood. In order to get the situation under control, which we immediately started doing, force was necessary; we had to fire some shots as an answer to the shots that were fired at us from the interior of buildings by these rioters and, after an hour or an hour and a half, the situation was under control in terms of public order and then we dealt with the contention until the early hours of the morning, a situation that is in effect as of this moment.
Reporter: A man was detained, twelve people were identified. The access to the neighborhood continues conditionally; people have to show what they carry in order to get in. Quinta da Princesa has been a difficult neighborhood for long time, where there is drug trafficking and much violence. During the night some cars and garbage were set on fire. Everything is believed to have started in a disagreement and fight among the locals, although those who live in the neighborhood say that it was only an answer to the provocation [by the police].
Leader: The only thing I know to explain you is that garbage bins were set aflame because of the revolt. All the people are upset due to an occurrence and an intervention that was badly done on Sunday. On top of it! On top of it… they are so… it’s like, they are with such a thirst for I don’t know what that they catch people that have nothing to do with it, they intercept and search the people who have nothing to do with it, they even took a person that… I think has nothing to so with it, I think the person was going out to work, I think the person they took was not involved and on top of it they took the person in the trunk of the car.
The people in the neighborhood reacted in a manner that would call to attention the social communication.
Reporter: In this morning operations police confiscated several weapons, the neighborhood continues to be watched, and so it will be during the following hours.
The neighborhood is a social neighborhood created for Africans, although it is a truly multicultural neighborhood with Africans of various sorts, gypsies and even some poor Portuguese. The media said Africans from Cape Verde formed a majority. It is located within the Greater Lisbon Area across the river, in the Southern Bank of the Tagus in the municipality of Seixal.
This was what the SIC had to say about it, accompanying the video:
Disturbances in Quinta da Princesa, Seixal, End With Detention
Tonight was darkened by confrontations in the neighborhood of Quinta da Princesa, close to Cruz de Pau. There was an exchange of shots and small fires. At least two cars were burned by “Molotov cocktails”.
The PSP encountered a strong resistance in the place and set up a police roadblock with several elements from the Body of Intervention. Drivers and passersby are being searched while entering the neighborhood.
These are safety measures that were implemented after the violence registered last night in Quinta da Princesa.
The confrontations began at 22.00 with an exchange of shots between the inhabitants, “Molotov cocktails”, and burnt cars.
The official report made at the end of the morning by Bastos Leitão, from the Command of the District of Setúbal, confirmed a detention and two burnt cars, as well as a deliberate attack to the intervening body of the PSP through the launching of a “Molotov cocktail”.
“It was necessary to use force, it was necessary to fire some shots as an answer to the shots that were also fired from the interior of buildings by these rioters”, Bastos Leitão explained.
The situation came under control an hour and a half after the police entered the neighborhood of Quinta da Princesa.
For a complete listing of previous enrichment news, see The Cultural Enrichment Archives.