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Portuguese police complain about cartoon, deny racism

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s national police force said Friday it is filing a complaint at the public prosecutor’s office against a newspaper which published a cartoon featuring a man in police uniform apparently participating in a racist demonstration.

The Public Security Police said in a statement the cartoon offended the “credibility, prestige and public trust” of the institution. Some Portuguese media reports have recently alleged that members of the police belong to racist groups, but authorities deny that.

The cartoon ran Friday in the satirical section of daily Publico, which made no immediate comment on the police statement. The cartoon showed a small group of men and women in various clothing holding flaming torches.

It was an apparent reference to a reported night-time demonstration last Saturday by a group of about 20 people outside the Lisbon premises of SOS Racismo, an association which fights racism. The masked demonstrators, carrying flaming torches, filmed themselves and allegedly sprayed racist graffiti on the front of the building.

Several days later, members of SOS Racismo and three lawmakers in parliament received an email telling them to leave the country. Though small, the incidents prompted a public outcry. Authorities are investigating who is behind the demonstration and emails.

It is up to public prosecutors whether to proceed by filing any charges.

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