«But is the party over?»: a night of riots in downtown Faro

Reportage at Faro night

Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação

The night seems to run like any other. There are people outside the clubs, queues to get in, loud music, lots of alcohol. We are in the low Faro, it's Friday. In a few seconds, everything changes – suddenly the DJs stop playing, people stop dancing. The noise of minutes ago gives way to silence. And to amazement.

The clock strikes close to 1:20 am.

On the faces and gestures of many young people, apprehension can be seen: the PSP has reached downtown. Dozens of cars occupy Rua de São Pedro, not letting anyone in or out.

As soon as they arrive, the 45 agents are divided into three bars/discos: the First Floor, the Call In and the Faro Us, all close to each other.

They go at a hurried pace and do not take long to enter the establishments – there are elements from the Special Police Unit, from the Criminal Investigation, from the Rapid Intervention Unit, from ASAE.

Whoever is at the door is surprised by the apparatus. «This must be a big thing!», comments a young man, at the door of the “Faro Us".


Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação


That's where we entered first. The space is small, but it is full of young people. In turn, they are called to the magazine. Afterwards, they are sent to the street.

«Hey, you, leaning against the wall!», says an agent to a young man who promptly complies with the order. He is searched from top to bottom, but he is clean.

The objectives of this action are clear: to find drugs and weapons, but also to inspect the nightlife venues themselves.

On the First Floor, right next door, the scenario is identical: on one side of the disco, there are young people; on the other, the PSP agents who keep calling them. Everything is searched: suitcases, wallets, backpacks.

While they wait, there are those who take the opportunity to take pictures of the strong police presence. After all, it's not every day that you see a swoop like this.

Subintendent Paulo Graça commands the operation. Throughout the night it goes bouncing between the three bars.


Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação


«This is a special crime prevention operation, planned and carried out based on the analysis of data on criminal occurrences in a certain area», he tells the Sul Informação.

the write-off of Faro, he recognizes, «is connoted with this type of criminality (drugs, thefts, robberies)».

“That's why we carry out these operations: we try to have some police presence to dissuade this type of behavior”, he adds.

It seems to have an effect, at least judging by what is heard inside bars or outside.

«Look, it feels like I'm in a movie, with so many police officers», comments a young woman, holding her cell phone while making a video call near the Call In.


Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação


The night is Carnival Friday and, here and there, you can also see some costumes. One of the most striking is that of a vampire.

«Look, the vampire is already out there, he's already escaped», jokes a group of friends.

In two of the bars, drugs were found, but in small quantities – around 5 grams. There were no arrests: the hashish was on the floor and was detected by the tracking dog that accompanied the entire operation.

Also in two of the bars, two fines were issued for irregularities in the scope of private security.

Does this mean that the objectives were met?, we ask the subintendent who continues to bounce from bar to bar.

«What we want, above all, is to be present. The results of the operation, whether arrests or seizures, are never the main objective », he replies.

Nearby, in Largo da Estação, the apparatus is also large, but for other reasons: the PSP is carrying out a major STOP operation.

Two people are arrested: one for excessive alcohol and another for possession of a prohibited weapon (a bat and brass knuckles). In addition, he had also abused alcohol.


Photo: Flávio Costa | Sul Informação


We went back to the bars.

The clock now reads 2:30. An hour has passed since the agents burst into the streets of São Pedro and Prior. There are hundreds of young people still on the street, without authorization to circulate until the raid is over.

It ends shortly after, around 2:45 am. The agents begin to demobilize and the music returns to the speakers; the environment becomes less tense.

Joy returns and the question, asked a few minutes ago by a young man on a PSP, on the First Floor, has an answer.

“But what about the party? He finished?".

It's not over, but maybe it won't be the same again.


Photos: Flavio Costa | Sul Informação



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