Portugal: Restaurant and Bar Owners on Hunger Strike

Αssociated Press

A passenger wearing a face mask checks her travel card while boarding a bus at a bus terminal in Lisbon, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

LISBON, Portugal — A group of 10 Portuguese restaurant and bar owners on hunger strike outside the country’s parliament building say they will stick with their protest until they are received by the prime minister or economy minister.

Sunshine warmed the group of nine men and one woman sleeping in tents on the pavement Wednesday, but rainy days are soon forecast. They are not eating food but are consuming liquids.

José Gouveia, spokesperson for the hunger strikers, said many businesses in the food and drink sector have gone bankrupt amid the COVID-19 pandemic and many more are teetering on the brink.

Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday his government has made available 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for businesses, which can also apply for funds from a temporary layoff program.