PORTUGAL: Public demonstrations say "No to war! Yes to peace!"

By Fernando Manuel Maurício de Carvalho, EESC member, Portugal

A public demonstration took place in Largo de Camões, Lisbon, on 10 March, in pouring rain, with protesters speaking out against war, sanctions and those who profit from selling arms or use war as an excuse to militarise. Demonstrations were also held elsewhere in the country.

Protesters in Lisbon carried blue or white flags featuring a hand-drawn dove and the word "peace". "Stop the war, give peace a chance" was the message that stood out at the event, which featured several speeches. These speeches included one by João Coelho, from the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN), who condemned the "war hawks" coming together in Europe to increase weaponry, and those who were now getting rich selling arms.

CGTP-IN expressed its solidarity with workers and peoples who are victims of war and, in particular, with those in Ukraine. CGTP-IN's actions have always been driven by the principles of standing up for peace and condemning war, stressing the need to stop war and to give peace a chance.

We call for a path of dialogue to build a peaceful solution to the conflict. War is not a solution, and our concern is for the workers and people of Ukraine, and of all countries, as they are the first and main group affected by war and destruction.

We believe that in order to stand up for peace, we need to fight militarism and the arms race, while focusing on a peaceful solution that involves establishing agreements or mechanisms for dialogue based on mutual trust, cooperation and the security of Europe's countries and peoples. There is therefore an urgent need to put an end to the ongoing military escalation.

Imposing sanctions does not stop war and has damaging consequences for workers and people, both in the countries affected and elsewhere. Sanctions against countries such as Iraq have shown these effects and the resulting deterioration in living conditions, along with the repercussions for other countries. This requires measures to be taken now to tackle attacks on rights that jeopardise workers' living conditions.

CGTP-IN points out that there is a need to ensure full support for refugees, while combating all forms of racism and xenophobia, and stresses the need for humanitarian support to address the challenges facing people in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.

We once again express our solidarity with peoples who are victims of war, in particular the people and workers of Ukraine, but also those in Palestine and Western Sahara, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan. At the same time, we underline that the path to peace must be built in accordance with international law and within the UN framework.