Radical climate demonstrators in Portugal storm buildings, urging economy ministers to resign

Hundreds of angry climate protesters took to the streets of Lisbon on Saturday, and dozens stormed a building where Portugal’s Economy Minister Antonio Costa e Silva was speaking, demanding the former oil executive’s resignation.

Demonstrators held banners and chanted slogans and called for climate protection. As some protesters broke into the building, outsiders shouted, “Out Costa e Silva!

Students display their painted arms as they are barricaded in protest for climate change and fossil fuel use at a school in Lisbon, Portugal November 12, 2022.
(Reuters/Pedro Nunes)

“It matters because we are indeed experiencing a climate crisis. The situation is serious and urgent.” Climate activist Marta Leandro told Reuters. “What we do or don’t do in this decade will have a major impact on climate security, on the future of new generations and present generations.”

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Police officers dragged some demonstrators out of the building.

The Portuguese broadcaster RTP reported that the minister left the building through a back door.

Pro-climate change and anti-fossil fuel protesters shout slogans in Lisbon, Portugal, November 12, 2022.

Pro-climate change and anti-fossil fuel protesters shout slogans in Lisbon, Portugal, November 12, 2022.
(Reuters/Pedro Nunes)

Police officers remove a pro-climate change and anti-fossil fuel protester from a private event attended November 12 in Lisbon, Portugal, according to local media Portugal's Economy and Maritime Affairs Minister Antonio Costa Silva.  2022.

Police officers remove a pro-climate change and anti-fossil fuel protester from a private event attended November 12 in Lisbon, Portugal, according to local media Portugal’s Economy and Maritime Affairs Minister Antonio Costa Silva. 2022.
(Reuters/Pedro Nunes)

The protest in Portugal came as leaders, policymakers and delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered at the UN climate summit COP27 in Egypt.

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However, some activists do not believe that COP27 will solve the problem.

“I think favoring big corporations and their financial interests has made people turn a blind eye to the planet, the way people live, the quality of people’s lives and the quality of the planet,” said climate protester Joao Duarte. “I think nothing will change until governments stop being big business’ best friends and allies. That is why these events are so important.”

Police officers clash with pro-climate change protesters.

Police officers clash with pro-climate change protesters.
(Reuters/Pedro Nunes)

UN experts said in a Tuesday report that promises by companies, banks and cities to reach net-zero emissions are often little more than green washing.

“The situation is serious and urgent,” said Marta Leandro, vice president of the Portuguese environmental group Quercus, at the protest in Lisbon. “What we do or don’t do in this decade will have a major impact on climate security.”

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Reuters contributed to this report.

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