Portugal Communist Party gets OK for 16,500 people at event

U.S. & World

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Health authorities in Portugal are allowing the country’s Communist Party to let 16,500 people into its annual open-air festival next weekend — an unusually high number for a gathering in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The permit has caused an outcry because officials have for months slashed the number of people allowed into other public events, forcing many of them to cancel.

The announcement came as the center-left Socialist government is seeking political support from other parties, including the Communists, for its 2021 spending plan.

The festival, called Festa do Avante, features concerts and political speeches in a fenced-off area of countryside south of Lisbon. In past years it has drawn some 100,000 people, of a wide variety of ages, over its three days.

The event is a major source of income for the Communist Party, which has 10 seats in Portugal’s 230-seat parliament.

The General Directorate for Health announced Monday that 16,563 people can be inside the festival at any one time, even though “there is a real risk that, during the event, infected people with or without symptoms may be moving around.” The Communist Party had wanted to sell 33,000 tickets per day this year.

Authorities say people at the festival must remain at least two meters apart, unless they share a household; concerts can take place only with distanced seating for the audience; no alcohol can be sold after 8 p.m.; and everyone over age 10 must wear a mask, among other measures.

Health Minister Marta Temido that “the rules are well though-out.”

“We hope the organizers are able to implement them and ensure people abide by them,” she told a news conference.

The calculation of how many people can be at the festival was based on criteria used for how many can be on beaches, officials said.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383
Email: OnYourSide@cbsfresno.com

Images from Armenia

Small patients in Armenia
Yerevan by night.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers.
Dr. Jeff Thomas delivers in Gyumri.
Doctors unpack medical supplies from The Central Valley.
Fresno Medical Mission at work.
Medical Supplies being unloaded.
Fresno Medical Mission at the ready.
KSEE24 crew witnesses the miracle of life in Gyumri, Armenia.
Life saving work of Central Valley surgeons in Armenia.
Ribbon cutting on new surgical center in Ashtarak Armenia. Fresno donors made this dream come true.
KSEE24 on assignment with the Fresno Medical Mission
Honorary Consulate to Armenia Berj Apkarian explains the crisis facing one hospital.
KSEE24's Stefani Booroojian and Kevin Mahan at the meeting with President Bako Sahakyan.
Medical Meeting in Artsakh.
The President of Artsakh meets with the Fresno Medical Mission.
Learning modern medicine techniques with the Fresno Medical Mission in surgery.
Leaning in for a look. Dr. Brien Tonkinson holds class and helps a patient in Armenia.
Fresno Medical Mission cares on one of the smallest patients in the region. Six-year old Yanna receives life-changing better breathing surgery.