Saturday, March 6, 2021

Normalization of Chega increases risk of “radicalization”, says report

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Pedro Reis Martins / Lusa

The candidate for the presidential elections of 2021 by Chega, André Ventura (C), during a campaign action

A report on right-wing extremism in Europe, released this Monday, marks the political “normalization” of Chega in 2020 and warns of the “possibility of radicalizing the forms of protest by the Portuguese extreme right”.

“The infiltration of the extreme right in protests for better living conditions, as is the case with small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, is expected to continue. And it is not possible, in this case, with the worsening of the social and economic crisis, to exclude the possibility of radicalization in the forms of protest of the Portuguese extreme right, ”warns the report“ State of hate – right-wing extremism in Europe ”.

The Portuguese part of this report, which portrays the situation in several European Union countries, but also in Eastern Europe, is by two journalists dedicated to the study of the extreme right, Ricardo Cabral Fernandes and Filipe Teles, who warn for the risk of the extreme right trying to “take advantage of dissatisfaction, frustration and resentment of the socio-economic crisis caused by the measures to contain the covid-19 pandemic ”.

As an example, they defend, of what started to happen in 2020, the year in which the country lived the crisis due to the pandemic of covid-19, when Chega, for example, organized a demonstration against pedophilia, which “Opened the door to the mobilization of the extreme right”, organized by movements “for the truth” of negacionistas.

“The protests started with a few dozen participants, but they are already able to gather a few hundred people”, it is noted in the text.

The report aims to portray the area and the themes that the radical right and extreme right are exploring and was commissioned by three non-governmental organizations, HOPE not hate, Kingdom, Expo, from Sweden, and Fundação Amadeu António, from Germany.

In Portugal, six groups linked to the far right were identified. Chega is identified as a radical right-wing populist, the Ergue-te (ex-PNR) of the extreme right, the groups Escudo Indentitário and Associação Portugueses Primeiro are considered identitarians, Hammer Skin neo-Nazis and Movimento Zero, a non-organic movement in police, is defined as far-right populists.

Also noteworthy is the creation of new groups such as the National Resistance, “responsible for a concentration in front of the headquarters of SOS Racismo”, in which the protesters wore masks and used torches, and the Defender Portugal movement.

After Chega elected a deputy in the 2019 legislatures, the report notes this year that there was a Political “normalization” of André Ventura’s party, noting the agreement with the PSD and other right-wing parties to form Government in the autonomous region of the Azores.

This agreement, according to the text, “was seen as a first step towards a parliamentary or government agreement at national level”, contributing “more to legitimize Chega”.

The document highlights that racism in Portugal was evident in a series of violent acts, such as the aggression of a woman on a bus, by the police, because her son did not have a ticket; or even death, on the streets in a Lisbon suburb, of an actor, Bruno Candé, by a man who sent him “to the slave quarters”, a term that refers to the past of slavery in Africa.

Chega, according to the report, elevated extreme right wing “key narratives” to levels never seen in Portuguese politics ”since the end of the Estado Novo, giving as an example that 15% of delegates to the last congress voted in favor of a resolution that proposed that the ovaries be removed for women who had an abortion.

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