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Friday Briefing: We need to talk about racism

Good morning and welcome to PORTUGAL DECODED, where we cover all sides of life in this gorgeous country. Today, in the wake of a spate of anti-migrant attacks, we reckon with some inconvenient truths.

18th century tile panel of black woman, probably a slave, preparing fish. Pimenta Palace, Museum of Lisbon.

POLITICS

The Parliament voted down Chega’s attempt to sue President Marcelo for “treason against the Fatherland” and violating the Constitution over his statements on colonial reparations (More).
A third of the Portuguese do not intend to vote in June’s European elections and 56% say that they are ill-informed about it, a new survey revealed. TV debates among the main candidates are set to start next Monday (More).

SOCIETY

Socialite and TV-personality José Castelo Branco was arrested on Tuesday on suspicions of domestic violence against his wife, American millionairess, Betty Grafstein, who has been in hospital since April 20 (More).
Police in Póvoa do Lanhoso arrested a professor suspected of 2,000 child abuse crimes “in the context of the classroom”. The victims were girls between the ages of 6 and 9 (More).

ECONOMICS

The Council of Ministers approved a new housing strategy expected to repeal several measures adopted by the previous Government. However, the lack of a working majority in Parliament seems likely to frustrate its goals (More).
Electricity provider EDP Group closed the first trimester of 2024 with profits of 354 million euros, a 17% increase from the same period in 2023 (More).

CULTURE AND SPORTS

Thousands of Sporting fans spilled into the streets until the early hours of Monday to celebrate the club’s championship victory for the 20th time (More).
Portugal's representative at the 68th Eurovision Song Contest, Iolanda, with the song “Grito”, has made it the contest’s final, scheduled for Saturday in Malmö, Sweden (More).

IN FOCUS


In the early hours of Saturday, several attacks targeted North African migrants in Porto, with at least two of the victims receiving assistance in hospital. Following the attacks, six men were identified and one was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon. Reports suggests that at least one of the suspects is linked to 1143 Group, a Sporting CP fan group with ultranationalist and neonazi views. While investigations proceed, here's some context to mull.



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TIPS OF THE WEEK

Lisbon

Open House Lisboa (OHL)


OHL is a weekend-long festival that opens the doors to a selection of private and public spaces, contemporary or historic in Lisbon. This year’s edition, on May 11-12, includes visits to the National Civil Engineering Laboratory, to a 17th century mansion converted into a hotel by architect Manuel Aires Mateus and walks around the city, including in English. There will also be tactile sensory tours for blind and partially sighted people and in Portuguese Sign Language. Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of 4 spaces requiring prior booking (available on the 6th May). Schedule here.


Ai Weiwei’s Paradigm

The São Roque Antiques and Art Gallery, on São Bento Street, will display 17 porcelain sculptures by the renowned artist Ai Weiwei, who lives in Montemor-o-Novo. Presenting a contemporary message through the language of traditional Chinese craft, the exhibition is a retrospective of Ai Weiwei's practice in porcelain. Appropriating the ‘culture of ready-mades', Ai Weiwei creates an alternative context to provide new possibilities for interpretation, demonstrating how objects can be judged differently. The 17 works by the Chinese artist will be available from 15 May and can be visited until 31 July 2024.


Porto

Senhor de Matosinhos

As a young boy in Porto, the Senhor de Matosinhos used to be one of the highlights of my year. There’s always something for everyone: traditional food, live music, handicrafts exhibitions, fireworks, table football, carousels and bumper cars, and a porcelain and pottery fair. That may be why the festival, which this year run from May 10 to June 2, has been going on for 700 years and in previous years it gathered around two million visitors, according to calculations by the municipality. One piece of advice: avoid going on Friday and Saturday night because it does get (too) crowded.


Elsewhere

WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal

Race car lovers, this one is for you. A founding round of the WRC back in 1973, Rally de Portugal has been named ‘Best Rally in the World’ on five occasions. Varying road surfaces and changeable weather add to the task facing crews. It’s also extremely popular among fans with enthusiastic spectators following the action in their tens of thousands. The Rally will be based at the Exponor exhibition centre in Matosinhos and highlights include the legendary Fafe jump, before the finish or the hillsides overlooking the sweeping bends that precede it. Unmissable.


Eurovision Song Contest 2024

Known for its glitz, glamor and eccentricity, the Eurovision Song Contest will attract millions of viewers from across the globe when its Grand Final begins Saturday, May 11, in Malmö, Sweden. Highlights for this year’s edition include Ireland’s “goth gremlin goblin witch” Bambie Thug, Croatia’s Baby Lasagna with techno-rock song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim”, and Finland’s Windows95Man with “No Rules,” a Eurodance delight that involves hot pants and a giant denim egg. In Portugal, the show will be broadcast live on RTP1 from 20h00.


Pilgrimage to Fátima

Rui Miguel Pedrosa | Observador

Every year, thousands of pilgrims make their way in long marches to the town of Fátima on May 13, the date that celebrates the apparition of the Virgin Mary to the three shepherd children in 1917. This pilgrimage is seen as a personal challenge, marked by sacrifice and faith, in which an extraordinarily strong bond is created with the rest of the group that accompanies them during this period. At the Sanctuary, the main events are a Candlelight Procession on May 12 and the Farewell Procession, on May 13, which closes the celebrations.


One more thing…

On June 10, Portugal celebrates its National Day. To celebrate the occasion, PORTUGAL DECODED invites young writers, aged 12 to 18 years old, to tells us what they think makes Portugal special? The winning essay will be featured on this newsletter and our website, and its author will receive a fantastic, handcrafted wood balance board by designers Abaeté. Follow this link for full guidelines and rules.



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