The Government today assured yesterday “it is false” that it refused to receive the demonstrators on hunger strike of the “A Pão e Água” movement, contrary to the statements of some of its members in the media.
The cabinet of the Minister of State, Economy and Digital Transition recalls that, on November 18, the Secretary of State for Commerce, Services and Consumer Protection (SECSDC) and the Secretary of State for Tourism met with the National Association of Nightclubs, “Represented by José Gouveia and Alberto Cabral”, two of the people “who are in protest in front of the Assembly of the Republic”.
“Already before, on June 4, the SECSDC had met with these two representatives from the disco sector, within the framework of a meeting promoted by AHRESP with nightlife companies. In addition, on December 1 [terça-feira], in an email addressed to Mr. José Gouveia, the SECSDC's availability to meet again on Thursday was reiterated ”, adds a note sent to the Lusa agency.
In addition, Pedro Siza Vieira's office refutes that the restaurant and nightlife sectors “do not have any back-up support”.
“1,103 million euros have already been made available in support to catering companies, of which 523 million euros in non-refundable form. Within the scope of the Apoiar.pt program, 200 million euros of non-refundable funds are available for this sector ”, reiterates the Government.
To these funds is added a “specific measure” aimed exclusively at restaurants, for “compensation for billing losses”, which occurred on weekends with limitations on opening hours, in the “total amount of 25 million euros”.
As for discotheques, which have not yet been able to reopen since March, the ministerial office explains that “they benefit from a total exemption from TSU under the simplified layoff regime” and that they have a “50% increase” in access to support to lost fund of Apoiar.pt, in addition to “benefiting from a moratorium” on the payment of rents until the end of the year.
"The Government expresses its concern for the continuation of the hunger strike and will continue the dialogue with representatives of the various sectors most affected by the essential measures to protect public health, with a view to mitigating the very negative impact of these measures", concludes the office of the Minister Pedro Siza Vieira.
The “A Pão e Água” movement group, made up of eight men and a woman, has been on a hunger strike for six days, camped in front of parliament, in makeshift facilities, with tents and heaters and they say they will keep the protest until that the Government receives them to find solutions for their business.
Representatives of the PSD, PAN, Left Bloc and Liberal Initiative went to the demonstration site today and called on the Government to receive their representatives, just as the CDS-PP and Chega have done in recent days.
Asked today whether it is acceptable to speak with the demonstrators on a hunger strike, António Costa said that, among the group that protests, the citizen who has seen more often speaking on television "is Mr. José Gouveia", who was still on the 18th meeting with the Secretaries of State for Tourism and Trade.
"But the Government has to meet with the representative associations, because if each person who is currently suffering – and there are many – decides to make a protest and say that he wants to speak to the Prime Minister or the President of the Republic, obviously this is not possible ", said the prime minister.