Portugal holiday hub where locals and immigrants live in fear as violence erupts

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun9,2024

A Portuguese city popular with international tourists has been grappling with growing cases of violence against both residents and immigrants.

The two communities have been living with a reciprocal fear of each other that the deployment of extra police patrols has failed to mitigate as attacks continue to rock the city.

To the unsuspecting tourist, nothing is amiss on the busy streets of Porto other than a reinforcement of policing across the Bonfirm neighbourhood of the stunning Portuguese city.

Police have insisted there has already been a drop in “complaints from citizens who live and work in the area.”

But to locals, the atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity remains unchanged by the recent increase in police presence.

The Porto Commercial Association (ACP) wrote to Minister of Internal Affairs Margarida Blasco to voice its “concern about the growing wave of insecurity in the city of Porto.”

The letter cited “cases of drug trafficking and consumption, clashes such as the attack on immigrants in Campo 24 de Agosto, thefts from cars and shops, noise and disorder in nightlife areas and an increase in homeless people, who beg as a last resort for survival.”

In May, five migrants were beaten up after three Portuguese men invaded their home while only last week two Indian citizens were also attacked near Porto’s city centre.

Police have suggested an extreme right-wing group may have been involved in some of the violence reported in recent months, with talks of residents trying to “settle scores” over robberies allegedly committed by immigrants from Northern Africa.

According to the latest Public Security Police (PSP) data, crime rates in the period between January 1 and June 5, 2024 have remained stable year-on-year, with 214 crimes reported.

However, distrust still runs rampant across the city, with locals accusing migrants of being “all thieves” while immigrants fear being physically attacked on the street.

A private driver claimed the current political situation in Portugal has played a part in fostering the violent climate Porto has been experiencing in recent months.

Speaking to the local newspaper DV, the unnamed driver said: “Sometimes I see myself looking at immigrants differently, but I’m not like that, nor do I want to be like that, here in Porto we’re not like that

“Immigrants are important for the country, but there’s a lot of political polarisation, the anti-racist organisations are more of a hindrance than a help, because they promote division.”

The European Election held over the weekend saw the far-right populist party Chega enter the European Parliament for the first time. They became the country’s third-largest party after the general election in March.

Migrants admit they have struggled with speaking about the violence they have experienced, insisting they feel happy in Portugal and fearing repercussions.

One Indian national working in catering with several Brazilian colleagues said that he “really like it here and I don’t want to leave,” adding that he had fulfilled his obligations and secured a visa to stay.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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