The case originates when a woman who parked on a yellow line in Fuseta in the Eastern Algarve reserved for loading and unloading, was issued a €30 fine which she paid.

When she returned to the spot a little later the woman saw an empty GNR car parked in the same place on the marked yellow zone. She then spotted the same two agents that had booked her having a light breakfast in a nearby cafe.

The woman took some photos in order to ‘show the corruption in this country’ saying the GNR should be setting an example to others, not flouting the laws for which she had just been fined. She added that they are all corrupt.

The GNR have stated that their agents were in the café trying to identify the driver of a goods vehicle which was parked in a disabled space.

Since this appeared on Facebook, local media have reported this as the person is being prosecuted for complaining against the GNR on Facebook and this has understandable caused much concern.

“Safe Communities Algarve have raised this case with the GNR at a senior level, who have explained that the only reason why the woman is being prosecuted, is for” defamation” by making a false accusation of corruption, which is a serious crime. Under Portuguese law making such false accusations against a person or an organization is illegal. Clearly her language is the issue here.

They added that the fact that she is complaining on Facebook is NOT the reason she is being prosecuted nor does it matter that she took photos of the GNR car. If she had complained but had not made the corruption allegation, I have been assured no action would have been taken.

The GNR receive negative comments and complaints from people on their Facebook page and these are not removed. But there are limits beyond which if you make unproven serious accusations in public then the person concerned will have to bear the consequences.

Unfortunately it is often the case in Facebook that people write without thinking through the consequences, or in the heat of the moment, which may well have been the case here”.