A day before kick-off and the first racist incident of EURO 2004 has led to the taking of a very public scalp. The Mayor of Lisbon, Pedro Santana Lopes, sacked his Chief of Police because of a racist remark he is said to have made.
The Police Chief, José Almeida Rodrigues, had turned down a bid from a local community group to hold a peoples party in Lisbon. It was his reasoning that led to the uproar. He claimed that the area where the event was to be held, would be used “mainly by black people, drug addicts and Prostitutes.”
The Mayor responded to public pressure by acting swiftly.
In mitigation Rodrigues said on Friday, that it was a “clumsy expression”. His decision to turn the party down had also to do with the workload of the security forces during the championships.
A speaker for the Portuguese Human Rights Organisation SOS Racismo said, the remarks show, “what´s in the minds of some people at Lisbon Police”.