Drivers join ‘slow march’ against Algarve tolls

Thousands of drivers took to the Algarve’s A22/Via do Infante motorway last Saturday to participate in a ‘slow march’ protest against the introduction of tolls on that road.

The huge flow of cars joining in the ‘Algarve Free of Tolls’ slow march crawled their way along the entire stretch between Vila Real de Santo António and Lagos.

Instigated by the ‘Algarve Movement – No to Tolls on the A22’ and the Via do Infante Users’ Committee, the ‘march’ – in practice a slow drive – started at 4pm and saw four large gatherings of vehicles slowly filter on to the A22 and inch along it in both directions for two hours, before culminating in Faro’s Parque das Cidades.

Organisers said the action “exceeded expectations and showed the population’s dissatisfaction at the introduction of tolls on what is an important road.”

At times the caravan of cars covered several kilometres, and was escorted by a number of GNR traffic police cars, who kept the protesting vehicles moving and prevented them from stopping at the intersection with the A2 motorway, as the organisers had initially planned.

João Vasconcelos, spokesperson for the Users’ Committee, highlighted “the population’s great participation”, as well as the “announcement of new forms of action” in the coming weeks.

“Indignation has been transformed into anger and shows that the Algarveans won’t just sit still, because introducing tolls on the Via do Infante is not a solution, it will just worsen the economic crisis”, he stressed.

In Mr. Vasconcelos’ opinion, “People have courage and determination and have shown their discontentment at the Government’s decision to introduce tolls on a road that has no alternatives and is essential to the Algarve.”

Another protest has been planned for 8 April, the spokesperson revealed, which will take place “by the Guadiana International Bridge.”


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Senior members of the Algarve Inter-Municipal Community Association (AMAL), Portimão Mayor Manuel da Luz and Algarve MP for the Left Bloc Cecília Honório were among the dignitaries who took part in the action.

Macário Correia, head of AMAL and Mayor of Faro, said his presence in the demonstration was a form of denouncing the “dishonest fashion” in which the Government has handled the affair.

“We must revolt, because it is an unjust and arrogant attitude. On the day on which [our opinions] about the construction of booths were being heard, they were already being built”, he said.

In turn, Mayor da Luz said in his opinion the introduction of tolls “is a disastrous decision for the region that is, sadly, irreversible.”

Manuel da Luz added that the Algarve “Was cheated, because it was confronted with an imposition when it was trying to find a consensus that would be less punishing for all.”

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