More than 100 former combatants will go on hunger strike on April 24th

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Around half a hundred former Colonial War combatants protested today in Porto against non-compliance with the Former Combatant Statute and announced a hunger strike for April 24.

“There are 112 ex-combatants from the Overseas War who will go on hunger strike on April 24 at the Belém Palace,” announced António Silva, one of the spokespeople for the Pro-Dignity Movement for the Status of Colonial War Combatants, revealing that the movement has 12 demands to make to the government.

António Silva, from the Pro Dignity of the Status of Former Combatants (EAC) movement, told Lusa news agency that the 112 former combatants of the Colonial War (1961-1974) will go on “hunger strike at the gates of the Presidency of the Republic” from April 24.

“We are 112 former combatants who will be in front of the garden of the Presidency of the Republic [Belém Palace] to go on hunger strike, like our comrade who was there on hunger strike for seven days,” explained António Silva.

At the rally, which was attended by around half a hundred former Colonial War combatants, some white banners and placards with phrases such as “Former combatants humiliated and abandoned. We were fighters for the nation and we were sent to war; We deserve dignity and gratitude. Rights refused to us”, or “Overseas combatants in struggle: Free public transport”.

“Changing the Combatant’s Statute”, “demanding that the new Combatant’s Statute include the Combatants of Timor”, including a “decent monthly supplement for all combatants and widows of combatants”, “demanding a national pass and not an intermodal one”, as well as “demanding that all combatants have access to military hospitals” are the first five demands of a set of 12 that the ex-combatants of the Colonial War announced in Porto.

Demanding that African combatants who fought in the service of Portugal have the same benefits, that local authorities comply with the statute on the delivery of the National Flag at funeral ceremonies and priorities in the allocation of social housing, total exemption from IRS on supplements, immediate delivery of campaign medals to those who have not yet received them and exemption from all user charges are the other demands presented today during the ex-combatants’ gathering in Porto.

Speaking to journalists, António Silva criticized the former Minister of Defence of the PS government, declaring that “she should perhaps be a childminder”, “because she doesn’t know anything about the army”.

“He said that at the next Council of Ministers he was going to speak out and demand, and push and so on, but he hasn’t done anything. To this day, nobody has done anything,” he said

The gathering reflects the disappointment over the Combatant’s Statute, which is “a handful of nothing”, said António Silva, noting that ex-combatants “don’t have political perks”

The Movimento Pro-Dignidade ao Estatuto do Combatente also wants to be heard by the new Minister of Defence, Nuno Melo, and has organized a series of sit-ins to take place over the next few days.

Today is a day of gathering of former combatants in Porto. They demand to be received by Minister Nuno Melo

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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