Closure of Stop in Porto “deserves reflection” and Ministry of Culture “willing to help”

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The Minister of Culture said today in parliament that the closure of most of the stores in the Stop shopping center in Porto, where hundreds of musicians had rehearsal rooms, “deserves reflection” and that the Ministry “is willing to help”.

At the Culture Commission, during a regimental hearing, Pedro Adão e Silva revealed that he has “talked” with the mayor of Porto, the independent Rui Moreira, about Stop and that the municipality is looking for a solution.

Pedro Adão e Silva
Pedro Adão e Silva

“It is a topic that deserves reflection (…). I myself am available to help, the Ministry of Culture, in what is possible, in a space that is formally a shopping center, but that has become a cultural center, but where there are many questions of security, of relationship with the neighborhood and with the residents of the area. All this implies some consideration and some reflection, but I know that the Porto City Council wants to find a solution,” said the minister.

More than a hundred stores in the Stop shopping center, on Rua do Heroísmo, in Porto, were sealed on Tuesday by the Municipal Police “for lack of licenses to operate”, justified the City Council.

This decision prompted protests outside the shopping center from where, throughout Tuesday afternoon and accompanied by the Municipal Police, musicians began to remove equipment from the rehearsal rooms that dozens of bands have rented there, some for two decades.

According to Pedro Adão e Silva, “one cannot ignore” the difficulties that arise, “namely from the point of view of safety and the conditions in which the people who rehearse there live”, as well as the “risk that this brings to the mayors, who are responsible and who can be held responsible if an incident occurs in a space of that nature”.

“The Porto City Council has been notified in this regard. I have talked, yesterday [Tuesday] and today, with the Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, about this matter”, said Pedro Adão e Silva.

Defending that the municipality “has a commitment to culture, to investment in culture, to cultural dynamism that stands out in the country as a whole”, the minister recalled that Rui Moreira is also a councilor for Culture, since the death of Paulo Cunha e Silva.

“This is reflected in the various dimensions – Cinema Batalha, investment in various spaces (…). The Porto City Council has already suggested, and it was not yesterday [Tuesday] or today, to the musicians who rehearse in the Stop space an alternative that would solve the problems, starting with security, which is Silo Auto, which could be a solution “, he concluded.

Already this morning, at a press conference, the mayor indicated as a solution for the musicians displaced from Stop the Pires de Lima school, ensuring that the facilities would be ready to receive the artists at the end of the year.

Nearly 500 musicians have “nowhere to go” with closure of Stop in Porto

On Tuesday, in a statement, the Porto City Council said that 105 of the 126 stores in the commercial establishment were being sealed, in an operation that began in the morning and forced the departure of shopkeepers and musicians.

Even before the sealing was completed, a protest was improvised with posters that read “Casa da Música is here”, “We want justice”, “They are killing culture”, “We want to work”, “It’s our livelihood” and “Bad faith process”.

To Lusa, the Association of Musicians of the Stop shopping center warned on Tuesday that almost 500 artists were left without “having anywhere to go”.

This is a process that has been dragging on for months, and in February, Rui Moreira criticized the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) for saying that it “has no powers” to carry out an inspection at the Stop shopping center.

Culture minister reiterates that “autonomy” of humor must be preserved

The Minister of Culture, Pedro Adão e Silva, reiterated also today that one must “preserve” the space of “autonomy of humor and accept this space with tolerance”, in an allusion to the ‘cartoon’ broadcast by RTP.

The minister was speaking in the Committee on Culture, Communication, Youth and Sport, as part of a procedural hearing, and was replying to Chega about the animation about the police and racism broadcast on the public television channel, which alluded to the French reality.

“We must preserve the space of autonomy of humor and accept with tolerance that space. (…) Freedom of expression is a very serious issue in our societies and it is all the more serious and demanding when the questions are more difficult when they arise,” said the government official.

“Humor and ‘cartoons’ in particular are always an intervention on political, social, cultural, national and international activity, they are even an interesting test of freedom of expression,” he said.

The minister reiterated that “humor must enjoy particular autonomy in the editorial context” of the media.

However, “that never stops us from considering a certain moment of humor” to be in bad taste, “but that is different from any intervention of censorship”, he said.

“We must preserve the space of autonomy of humor and accept with tolerance this space of autonomy, which does not inhibit us from making considerations” on the subject, he insisted.

Asked by the Left Bloc about the fact that the Minister of Internal Affairs, José Luís Carneiro, contacted the RTP administration about the aforementioned ‘cartoon’, Pedro Adão e Silva dismissed the idea that it was to put pressure on the public channel.

“The minister informed me of the contact he had made and it was not to show displeasure. The contact was to be clarified and it was very useful, it allowed us to give an account to the security forces that were restless”, said Pedro Adão e Silva.

The cartoon, by Cristina Sampaio, a collaborator of the collective Spam Cartoon, which has a weekly column on RTP, is called “Carreira de tiro” and shows a policeman shooting at the target with more and more intensity. At the end, it shows the targets, which have been darkening as the policeman’s aggressiveness, serving as a metaphor for the theme of racism in the security forces.

On July 10, in Vila Viçosa, Pedro Adão e Silva had already argued that humorists and ‘cartoonists’ should have autonomy, pointing out that the animation alluding to the police and racism broadcast on the public channel alluded to the “French reality”.

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