Fenprof distances itself from insults and populism at June 10th celebrations

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The National Federation of Teachers (Fenprof) today distanced itself from insults and acts of populism, following the caricatures that targeted the image of the Prime Minister, during the Portugal Day commemorations in Peso da Régua on Saturday.

National Federation of Teachers
National Federation of Teachers https://www.fenprof.pt/

“In the middle of the ceremony, a group of about ten teachers wearing t-shirts with unpleasant caricatures of Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and João Costa, and brandishing placards with a distorted image of António Costa, with a pencil in each eye, appeared at the place where FENPROF was meeting. Later, this group followed the Prime Minister for several minutes. FENPROF distances itself from these images, believing that to demand respect, one must know how to respect. If fighting also means teaching, then insults and populism cannot be used as weapons. Images such as those displayed are unworthy of teachers and their just struggle”, said the union in a statement sent to the press today.

António Costa with Fenprof representatives
António Costa with Fenprof representatives

In the document, Fenprof maintains that there is a “serious problem” in Portugal of a lack of teachers in schools, which it attributes to the devaluation of the profession, and reiterates that it will continue to fight to demand “respect”, as it did on Saturday during the June 10 celebrations.

“The Prime Minister merely said, as usual, that it was he who unfroze the career, which seems to mean that it’s normal to freeze careers and extraordinary to unfreeze them. What is extraordinarily negative is that teachers are progressing at levels well below those they should already occupy, and that those working on the mainland are being discriminated against in comparison with their colleagues in the Azores and Madeira,” reads the statement.

According to the federation, the teachers it represents observed the commemorations of Portugal, Camões and Portuguese Communities Day, and were greeted “by many people” who wished them strength to continue the struggle.

“They were also welcomed by the President of the Republic, who guaranteed that he would follow the education situation closely, admitting that a meeting would be held soon”, the organization added, saluting the teachers who demonstrated in a “civilized and respectful” manner.

The Prime Minister said that demonstrations are “part of freedom and democracy”, after being confronted by many teachers who took advantage of June 10 to demonstrate in Régua.

After completing the military ceremony, António Costa marched from the Douro avenue to the chosen lunch spot, still followed by many teachers who shouted, among other slogans, “respect”.

The same message was written on posters, some of which also read “resign” and showed the image of the Prime Minister with two pencils in his eyes and a pig nose.

On arriving at the restaurant, the Prime Minister’s wife, Fernanda Tadeu, took exception to the comments made by some of the protesting teachers. António Costa initially asked his wife not to respond to the comments, but then backtracked and shouted “racist”, visibly elated.

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