Musicians gather in front of Porto City Hall to demonstrate importance of Stop


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Musicians and shopkeepers from the Stop shopping center will gather today from 15:00 in front of Porto City Hall to demonstrate the importance of that “cultural center”, where more than a hundred stores were closed last week.

The closure last Tuesday of more than a hundred stores in the Stop has led musicians and shopkeepers to call for a demonstration today, the day of the municipal executive meeting.

The meeting is scheduled for 15:00 in front of the Porto City Hall and the protesters are expected to leave, at 19:30, in a march to the shopping center, where for more than 20 years several fractions have been used as rehearsal rooms or studios.

The demonstration initially aimed to demand the “immediate opening” of the 105 spaces sealed by the Municipal Police “due to lack of licenses to operate”, but the mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira, admitted on Friday that the space could reopen as long as safety measures were met.

To return to work, the Stop will have to have a fire engine permanently, with five operatives, but no more than 12 hours, the municipality is willing to invest in safety means (hoses and needles) and provide training to users of the space so that, in case of fire, they know how to act, said, in a press conference, Rui Moreira.

The proposal to reopen the shopping center was received with caution by the two associations representing musicians, who are still deliberating on the feasibility of the solution and the future of the space.

With the reopening proposal on the table, the focus of the demonstration is now to demonstrate “not only the size and diversity of the community” of Stop, but also the importance of that “cultural center” for artists, shopkeepers and residents in Porto, the two associations said in a statement.

After the closure that left almost 500 artists and shopkeepers with “nowhere to go”, hundreds of musicians occupied Rua do Heroísmo for about five hours in protest, forcing police to divert car traffic to other arteries of the city.

As an alternative to the shopping center, the Porto City Council presented two solutions: the Pires de Lima school and the last floors of Silo Auto.

For the musicians, both spaces “lack the conditions to house the entire Stop community” and do not consider them as a solution for their relocation.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Rui Moreira guaranteed that he would not authorize the construction of “any hotel” on the site of the shopping center, having, the next day, again rejected the existence of securities interests and defended that the municipality would have bought Stop if the owners “could and wanted” to sell the property.

“We don’t know of any real estate project there,” the independent mayor assured.

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