Statue of Padre António Vieira vandalized in Lisbon
Thanks to Peter for a link to Expresso on the mainland: The newspaper reports that “decolonization” was written in bold letters on the base, red hearts painted on the chest of indigenous children, the face of Father António Vieira covered with the same strong red. The statue of Father António Vieira, installed at Largo Trindade Coelho (in the distinctive Bairro Alto area of Lisbon), is the most recent figurative work to be vandalized, at a time when BLM protests around figures that fomented colonialism, slavery and racism are growing. The first images started circulating this Thursday afternoon on the social network Twitter.
Father António Vieira, known for defending the rights of indigenous peoples and fighting against their exploitation in the 17th century, was recently accused of promoting the selective slavery of African peoples. Unable to remain indifferent to the brutality with which Amerindians and black slaves were treated in Brazil, the then member of the Companhia de Jesus denounced the situation before the Portuguese courts of the time.
Despite the uniqueness of the action in Portugal, this is not the only figure to face the fury of the activists, having also been news this Thursday the removal of a statue of the founder of the scouts Robert Baden-Powell in the United Kingdom, for fear that it was vandalized. Expresso analyzed Twitter publications about Father António Vieira in the past few days and identified the incitement to vandalism this Wednesday. The accounts in question have since ceased to publicly display their tweets.
Police seek perpetrators
Criminal investigation teams from the Public Security Police (PSP) made investigations this Thursday in the Largo Trindade Coelho area in Lisbon, a COMETLIS (Central Police Commend in the metropolitan area) source told press agancy Lusa. “They’re looking for the perpetrators of the attack”.
According to the source of, “there was a projection of red paint” on the figures of Father António Vieira and three children, who make up the set of sculptures, and the word ” Decolonize “at the base of the monument.
PSP criminal investigation teams were mobilized, who took steps on the spot “to collect more and better evidence” that could lead to the identification of the perpetrators. Damage to monuments constitutes a public crime, said the head of the Lisbon PSP, adding that the case will now be forwarded to the Public Ministry.
On Facebook (below) Lisbon City Council has already cleaned the statue of Padre António Vieira, who had been the target of vandalism this Thursday. Through a publication on Facebook, the municipality reinforces that “all acts of vandalism against the city’s collective heritage are inadmissible”.
“Tribute to a an extrordinary Portuguese figure“
The statue was installed by the Lisbon City Council in partnership with Santa Casa three years ago. At the time of the inauguration, the mayor Fernando Medina wished it to be “the first of several public segments for the recovery and elevation of this extraordinary Portuguese figure.” For Medina, it was then a fundamental homage to “one of the greatest personalities of Portuguese thought” so far without “the proper expression of recognition” in the city.
“This is the first statue erected in Lisbon to the well-known Jesuit cleric, born in the Portuguese capital in 1608 and died in Bahia, Brazil, in 1697”, clarified in 2017 the City Hall about the monument. The Municipality of Lisbon thus assumed, according to Medina, “its obligation to History”.