Groups against 'wild camping' in Portugal
After my post a few days ago about the actions of some local people evicting people in motorhomes from where they were parked I did some research into a couple of online groups that I found that are actively against the ‘wild’ campers in the Villa do Bispo area.
I found that one of these groups openly supports the Chega party, the far-right political party in Portugal. I also found that followers of these groups were not all the environment lovers they claim to be. One of the major sources of complaint has been people parking in the Natural Park overnight, something that is prohibited. The 'anti wild camping' campaigners often say the environment is being ruined because of campervans parking overnight.
These groups are taking photos and videos of people and their vehicles without their knowledge and posting on social media. They post mostly rather ambiguous pictures of campervans next to litter or just pictures of litter accusing the people in campervans of leaving the litter. They also post pictures of people's vehicles accusing them of being illegal vehicles, accusations that are totally unsubstantiated.
I have recently written to some of the media outlets and motorhome organisations in the Algarve making them aware of the links to the Chega party. I hope that the media stops adding to the far-right populist campaign of hate against foreigners in motorhomes by better research into the actual facts before adding to this narrative that it is ALL and ONLY people in campervans leaving litter, going to the toilet in nature and disrespecting the environment.
I also hope that moving forward there can be better solutions to the problem of parking in the Natural Parks of Portugal. I hope that members of the public will not be drawn into this political circus by the far-right and realise that most people in campervans are decent people who have worked hard to buy themselves some freedom on wheels and are as concerned about the environment as most other people.
Below are screenshots of two of the social media groups I have found who are spreading lies and misleading people with their photos and text.