Public Statement by PSP Police concerning football violence at Guimarães and Lisbon

On 17th May 2015 there were several football games played in the penultimate round of the 1st Football League at stadiums located in areas under the ​​responsibility of Public Security (PSP), specifically in the cities of Lisbon and Guimaraes. Because these are games that potentially could dictate the winner of this year’s championship, PSP, based on the available information, including historical information concerning these games and in association with the Clubs themselves, assessed these as high risk in terms of the threat to public order.

Consequently the PSP employed police units considered appropriate to deal with the risk.

At the end of the games celebrations took place is various cities under the responsibility of the PSP without any of significant security incidents.

However, as is common knowledge and has been widely reported by various media outlets; in the cities of Guimarães and Lisbon challenges to public order, necessitated police intervention in order to restore public order, to ensure the security of persons and property.

Specifically, on May 17 in the city Guimarães, including in the vicinity of D. Afonso Henriques Stadium, the following took place:

a) At about 17:45 hrs there were several areas of tension before the football game, with especially in the vicinity of Stadium involving about 500 Benfica (SLB) fans and about 300 Victory Sport Club fans from Guimarães (VSC). The clash between fans of both teams included the throwing bottles, stones, pyrotechnic articles (commonly known fiery lights and firecrackers) and aggression. The PSP was forced to intervene to stop the disorder which had resulted in damage to vehicles parked on public roads and outdoor furniture;

b) Upon arrival at the stadium of the bus carrying the Benfica team, was attacked with various objects, resulting in broken windows;

c) The game itself passed without any significant challenges to public order;

d) At the end of the game, a group of supporters who, caused extensive damage to existing furniture on site, with partial destruction of some toilets and a bar (the sports arena) and the theft of storage material and the subsequent theft of merchandising belonging to another group of fans;

e) At the end of the game, in the vicinity of the stadium, there was a police action that resulted in the arrest of a citizen. This occurrence was filmed by a television station and widely publicized. After viewing the images in question, the PSP decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the police element involved in the arrest.

f) As a result of the various police interventions, six arrests were made for contempt, insults, threats with a replica firearm and possession of fireworks;

g) Assistance was provided by teams of Red Cross to deal with injuries both to police officers and citizens arising from the disorder.

Specifically, on 17 and 18 May in Lisbon, there was:

a) At about 21:45 on the 17th, disorder took place requiring police intervention at the in public transport area of Campo Grande, involving supporters of both teams which resulted in three people injured as well as two policemen;

b) At about 00:45 on the 18th, the team and entourage of Sport Lisboa e Benfica (SLB) arrived at Marquis of Pombal with escorted by police without any incident during the journey;

c) At approximately 01:20 of the 18th, there was a security incident in the vicinity of Eduardo VII Park, with serious public disorder due to an altercation between some supporters, which included throwing various objects, including glass bottles. In order to contain the incident in question and prevent this becoming worse, police intervened, with glass bottles and other objects being thrown at the police.

d) The initial police intervention located, was not able to put an end to the disorder and it was therefore necessary to gather police reinforcements using force to restore public order;

e) During the incident 16 police officers were injured with multiple abrasions, mainly due to throwing stones, glass bottles and fireworks, and a traffic division vehicle was damaged with a broken glass;

f) The PSP is unaware of the number of citizens who also may have been injured on site;

g) Thirteen arrests for possession of fireworks and attacks on policemen in service were made;

h) During the operation several pyrotechnic material, was seized and is being analysed;

i) The PSP also received 13 complaints of robberies that occurred on public roads during the festivities;

j) At about 0400 hrs on the 18th law and order was restored in the Marques de Pombal and the vicinity and the area was open to traffic by 0530 hrs.

Finally, in Oporto police intervention was required in different parts of the city, in the context with the festivities, but were dealt with without the need for greater operational employment interventions However, seven people were arrested for drug trafficking, possession of fireworks, possession of a prohibited gun and through the execution of an arrest warrant.

In total the police operation resulted in the arrest of 26 people for various offences.

The PSP regrets that the festive events degenerated into violent situations that required police intervention to restore public order and ensure the safety of people and property.

Issued in Portuguese by the PSP National Office, May 18, 2015


Sign up for Newsletter

Please enter your email address