Three dozen protest in Lisbon against real estate speculation and rising interest rates

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About three dozen people gathered today near the Ministry of Housing in Lisbon to protest against real estate speculation and the increase in interest rates by the European Central Bank.

The action was called by the movement Door to Door – Home for All and took place between 12:30 and 14:00.

Armed with banners, the 30 or so protesters shouted slogans against property speculation and rising interest rates, demanding “homes to live in”.

“It goes up, the installment goes up, the salary does not”, was one of the phrases that was heard.

In a statement to the Lusa agency, the spokesman for the Porta a Porta – Casa para Todos movement, André Escobar, explained that the Mais Habitação program, approved a week ago in parliament, is “clearly insufficient to respond to housing problems.

“They are highly insufficient and it is not only us who say so. The Minister of Finance himself, this week, has already come to say that more measures were needed. It is strange that a week after the approval of Mais Habitação the Government itself comes to say that the measures are insufficient “, he pointed out.

In André Escobar’s view, the government will have to “touch bank profits” so that housing installments and rents can fall.

“Today, this increase in interest rates by the ECB (European Central Bank) is just one more piece on that path. Interest increases, benefits increase, wages remain stagnant and, to that extent, the cycle must be broken,” he said.

The European Central Bank (ECB) today announced a further increase of the three key interest rates by 25 basis points, as at the previous meeting, matching the highest deposit rate ever.

Present at the protest, young Pedro Fialho, a displaced student from Évora, complained about the difficulties young people are having paying rent for a house or a room.

“Displaced students have a very serious problem to have a place to live here in Lisbon. More than half of these students have no place in a bed in a public residence,” he criticized.

Elisabete Glória, an oncology patient, said that the bank decided to raise her house payment, putting her in an “unaffordable” situation.

“We have a disability that means that you often can’t go to work. This is obviously reflected in wages. However, it is not reflected in the interest rates for these patients,” he pointed out.

Also present at the protest was PCP MP Bruno Dias, to express solidarity with those who cannot get a house to live in.

“This is a just cause. People have the strength of reason to call for policies and policy options that actually respond to this glaring problem that is affecting thousands of people, both in terms of rent and in terms of the house installment we pay to the bank,” he attested.

However, in a note sent this afternoon to the Lusa agency, a source from the Ministry of Housing said that a letter of demand was delivered there and that a delegation from the Porta a Porta – Casa para Todos movement was received by the Secretary of State for Housing, Fernanda Rodrigues.

According to the note, the Secretary of State “heard these same claims” and took “good note of them”.

“The right to housing is a concern for everyone, starting with the Government itself, which values dialogue and recognizes the importance of mobilizing civil society,” says the note from the ministry under Marina Gonçalves.

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