The contested curfew in Portugal

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the center of Lisbon braved the curfew that came into force early Saturday afternoon in the regions of Portugal most affected by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a AFP journalist.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

After the night curfew introduced since Monday, this “ban on driving on public roads” applies from 1:00 p.m. (local) on Saturdays and Sundays in more than a hundred Portuguese municipalities presenting an “aggravated risk” of contamination , and where about 70% of the ten million inhabitants live.

But, before dispersing an hour later, nearly 500 people protested at the call of restaurateurs, one of the sectors most affected by this curfew, and a movement of citizens who organized a “march for freedom “.

“The pandemic is here and we must protect ourselves, but without killing the economy,” said Carla Torres, 33, who works in communication for chefs, restaurants and hotels. Our customers can no longer pay us and many will have to lay off employees next month. ”

The day before in Porto, the large city in the north of Portugal, a gathering of people employed in the catering industry gave rise to moments of tension between the demonstrators and the police.

“This weekend will be very different. You will have to stay at home during the afternoon and evening. It will be very hard for all, ”admitted Prime Minister Antonio Costa in a video message broadcast on Saturday morning.

“The evolution of the situation of the pandemic is really very serious”, he argued to justify “the additional effort” requested from the Portuguese.

According to the report drawn up on Saturday by the Directorate General of Health, Portugal detected 6,600 new confirmed cases of coronavirus contamination in 24 hours and the total number of deaths caused by Covid-19 has exceeded 3,300.

From Monday, the state of health emergency with curfews at night and on weekends will be extended to new regions, and will affect around two-thirds of Portuguese municipalities and 80% of the population.

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