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Portugal’s culture sector to stage national protest

Cultural workers will take to the streets to call attention to the gov's perceived lack of action which they say has led to 'economic depravity'

By IQ on 13 Jan 2021

The 2020 edition of Nos Alive Portugal was unable to take place due to restrictions

The 2020 edition of Nos Alive Portugal was unable to take place due to restrictions


A number of Portugal’s cultural organisations are organising a national protest to call attention to the government’s perceived lack of action on ‘the devastating consequences of the pandemic’ for people working in the sector.

Culture workers are calling for ‘effective social protection, due to the total or partial loss of their income due to the pandemic,’ adding that they want social protection to ‘be above the poverty line’.

The protest will take place this Friday (30 January), in a format yet to be determined, under the banner ‘On the Street for the Future of Culture’ (‘Na Rua Pelo Futuro da Cultura’).

 

The demonstration has been organised by a number of organisations including Cooperative Action; the Union of Show Workers, Audiovisual and Musicians (CENA-STE); Plateia – Association of Performing Arts Professionals; the Portuguese Association of Film Directors (APR); the Union of Archaeology Workers (STARQ) and Network – Association of Contemporary Dance Structures.

“We have been brutally suffering for ten months the consequences of job insecurity and the lack of rights and social protection, aggravated by the devastating consequences of the pandemic, which lead us, with no alternative, to economic deprivation, situations of indebtedness and informality,” said Teresa Coutinho of Cooperative Action at an online news conference.

“We’ve been brutally suffering for ten months the consequences of job insecurity and the lack of rights and social protection”

Rui Galveias, head of CENA-STE, added: “It is very important that the Portuguese government understand the strength of culture, because they have not fully understood it. We continue to experience many difficulties in understanding the dimension of these workers and of all the areas they involve.”

According to Amarilis Felizes, of Plateia, the protest is “in response to the non-response” that the organisations received from the ministry of culture at their meeting with officials in December. “We think that being on the street is important to attract attention and we want concrete answers.”

The groups said that they were outraged by the fact that, “as of January 2021, support for those who work as freelancers will be even less and access will be more constrained [with means testing] than those that existed in 2020.”

The demonstration comes as Portugal prepares for a new month-long lockdown, commencing tomorrow (14 January).

Today (13 January), the country has hit the highest number of deaths per day so far (156), the highest number of cases registered in 24 hours (10,556) and the highest daily number of admissions into hospital (197).

 


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