Portugal – Context of the struggle against the tolls (and not only) in the Portuguese highways – reported events since the infrastructures started to be built


9 January, 2012
25th December 2010, A28, Neiva (North) – toll gate burnt down. Burning tires were placed inside the cabin. A representative of a protest group (Comissão de Utentes do Grande Porto) condemned the action: “I think this was only an action of vandalism and not a way of protest. It’s out of question to act this way.”
28th December 2010, A28, Esposende (North) – toll gate sabotaged; masked people shot a cabin containing electronic equipment with a handgun. “The companies running the A28 concession (Litoral Norte and ViaLivre) condemned the acts of vandalism happening against the tolls structures in this highway”.

24th April 2011, A22, Boliqueime, Loulé and Olhão (South) – three structures of support to the toll gates in Via do Infante (A22) burnt down. Inside them was the electrical equipment for the future toll gates. According to the newspapers, the doors were broken into and inside were placed tires on fire.
26th April 2011, A28, Neiva (North) – toll gate burnt down.
21st May 2011, A25, Cacia (Center) – toll gate burnt down.
23rd May 2011, A17, Mira/Vagos (Center) – toll gate burnt down. “The GNR (Guarda Nacional Republicana) suspects that in several cases were used tires and firelighters to start the fires, since they are fast burning materials and disappear completely after the fire.”
25th June 2011, A25, Cacia (Center) – toll gate electric box set on fire. The concessionary (Ascendi) says they are going to make more patrols to protect the gates.
14th July 2011, A22, Machados (South) – three machines working on the site of a future road connection to the A22 were vandalized. Punctured tires, electric, gas and water cables cut and a message written on a truck: “one more road here: no thanks. Get out.”
12th December 2011, A22, Boliqueime (South) – surveillance cameras of a toll gate were destroyed by gun shots and a nearby box with electronic devices was burnt.
13th December 2011, A22, Guia (South) – toll gate burnt down, and a car of the running company shot at with a rifle.
14th December 2011, A22 (South) – 60 cops of the Republican National Guard (GNR) start spending the nights next to every toll gate in the highway to try to stop the sabotages.
19th December 2011, A22, Boliqueime (South) – boxes of optic fibre cables burnt, far from the eyes of the cops (these boxes aren’t close to the toll gates where the cops spend the night).
27th December 2011, A22, Olhão/Tavira (South) – box of optic fibre cables burnt. It’s through these cables that the information from the toll gates is sent to the central. “After the police reinforcement close to the toll gates, the criminals started to do this kind of actions to protest against the tolls.” Close to Olhão, another box had its cables cut this same day.
Throughout the summer, a newsletter with more information on this struggle (chronology, companies involved in the different highways, info on the microchips used in the license plates for automatic payment, map of known sabotages throughout the country, etc) and on other struggles is widely distributed in Lisbon, Setúbal and a few other places. Recently a weblog appeared in the internet containing suggestions on “the things you shouldn’t do so as to avoid damaging the toll gates in the highways”.

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