Greve Geral. Lisbon

I knew I wanted to join the manifestation. Not only because I thought I could take some photos there. I already know the problems of people living here, and I understand why they are disappointed.

I joined the crowd and walked with the people, shouting and singing with them. There was a group of young people playing drums. It made me feel like I’m on a sambodrom, not a general strike. In total I have spent four hours on the manifestation.

Maybe I should have known that. I have never seen a peaceful manifestation. Have you?

Suddenly I realized I am right between the police and the youngsters with masks on their face, who started throwing bottles, paving stones and petards at the officers.

Some people tried to stop them – “We have come here together. We are supposed to unite, not destroy the city we live in”.

Some people tried to cover the officers with their own body – at least at the beginning. “The policemen also have families. They live in the same country, they are with us, not against us. They are just doing their job”. The other protesters would just start throwing stones at them. And unlike the police, the “peaceful protesters” had no protection.

I heard a swish and then my friend screaming my name. I didn’t realize at first that it was a pavement stone flying over my head, when I just wanted to take a photograph.

I knew it was my own fault, it was my decision to go there. Was I scared? I was. Especially when I couldn’t see my friend and I thought something happened to her. Then I found her equally scared about me. We decided to go back home.

We didn’t see the police beating the crowd. We didn’t see those hooligans setting the ATMs and bins on fire in one of Lisbon’s most important districts – Baixa-Chiado. At that time we were already home.

But most importantly, we didn’t see the people unite. We saw them fighting against each other. And I think this is what scared me the most.

“Menina estás à janela – há uma greve, junta-te a ela” – “Girl, you’re at the window – there is a strike, join it”

“I hope you’re happy with what you’re doing! At least somebody is!”

“A polícia está cá fora e os ladrões estão lá dentro” – “The police is here outside and the thieves are there inside”

“Um país sem cultura é uma ditadura” – “A country without culture is a dictatorship”

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Greve Geral. Lisbon”
  1. Scary stuff, indeed! Here in the US, such protests have little or no real effect – so I wonder what the result of this greve geral throughout Europe will be. Is Lisbon recovering, getting (literally) cleaned up again?

    By the way, your photos are at least as dramatic as any I’ve seen on BBC. :) Oh, and the masks are interesting.

    • Mishatsky says:

      It’s the same in Europe. Still, it’s better to protest (not necessarily in this manner) than not to do anything.
      I haven’t been to the Parliament since, I guess the pavement is already repaired (funny that those people who decided to destroy it didn’t think about the money that would have to be spent on repairing it). I will get a chance to see it this Thursday, as I’m going on another manifestation. This time I hope it will be less brutal, for it’s a protest of university students against (among others) raising the fees.
      Thank you for the nice words on the photos!

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