22.02.2011 - There’s a semi-public company in Lisbon called EMEL (Empresa Municipal de Estacionamento de Lisboa) that controls car parking all over Lisbon and car traffic in some of the streets in the old neighborhoods (Alfama, Bairro Alto, Castelo, etc..). Literally they block the streets with remote controlled hydraulic bars (that come up and down) and only let authorized residents past. This hydraulic bar needs another adjacent structure where all the electric cables are to work properly. Obviously to be an authorized resident you need to register, give them your data and pay for a license. Apart from this, each street where car traffic is controlled by EMEL has a CCTV camera about 10 meters away from these 2 other structures and pointing towards them and the street.
In the last weeks many of these street-controlling machines have been sabotaged, you only need to walk the streets of Alfama and Castelo to see what’s happening: each time the hydraulic bar is permanently down and/or there’s lots of plastic and tape covering the adjacent structure because this structure was somehow damaged and is being fixed. Recently some phrases against EMEL and against control have also been spray-painted in these neighborhoods (“these streets belong to us/ EMEL OUT!”; “enough of control and surveillance/ these streets are ours”).