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

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The Musicians Association of the Stop shopping center in Porto, which today saw most of its establishments closed by municipal order, warned today that almost 500 artists are left with “nowhere to go”.

“Most of the people who are here, which are about 450 people, almost 500 people, have nowhere to go. They don’t have places to be able to make noise, to be able to be as long as they want, which is what is good about this [the Stop shopping center],” the president of the Stop Shopping Center Musicians Association, Rui Guerra, told Lusa outside the establishment.

More than a hundred stores in the Stop Shopping Center, on Rua do Heroísmo, in Porto, are being sealed by the Municipal Police “for lack of licenses to operate”, justified the City Council today.

In a statement, the municipality chaired by the independent Rui Moreira advances that 105 of the 126 stores in this shopping center are being sealed, in an operation that began in the morning and forced the departure of tenants, with some Stop musicians remaining outside the shopping center.

According to Rui Guerra, the musicians were not notified and the municipal police arrived at the shopping center at 09:00, allowing no more entries, and “only from tomorrow [Wednesday], with special permission, can things be removed”.

Despite this, outside the Stop shopping center, several musicians were visible removing instruments and technical equipment, occupying the entire sidewalk outside the establishment.

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

“It’s a loss. I don’t know what the future of the building will be. I have no idea. A lot of people want to buy this, others want to do a lot of things here in the building,” he said.

The official also lamented the “disruption” for artists, anticipating that “many people will leave the building” forever.

“We can enter at the time we want, we can leave at the time we want and we work the hours we want”, detailed Rui Guerra to Lusa, referring to the advantages of the space for its users.

Rui Guerra also said that the association will contact the Porto City Council and that the musicians will try to organize themselves for a protest today or Wednesday, “although this always works in chaos, and that’s the only way it works”.

“Musicians are like that,” he concluded.

In the note sent to the newsrooms, the Porto City Council justifies the operation “due to the lack of licenses for use for operation”, but guarantees that this “is not a process of closure” of the shopping center.

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