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News > Brazil

Amazon Crisis: Mass Protests Erupt Across Brazil

  • T-shirt with an image of President Jair Bolsanaro at a demonstration in Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 23, 2019.

    T-shirt with an image of President Jair Bolsanaro at a demonstration in Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 23, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 August 2019

President Bolsonaro's whimsical explanations of the fires did not convince those living in thewealthy neighborhoods.

Demonstrations against the far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and in defense of the Amazon rainforests lasted until late Friday night in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and dozens of cities throughout Brazil. The Brazilian security forces did not even try to prevent the mobilization of thousands who took to the streets.


Brazil: Bolsonaro Now Blames Governors for Fires at the Amazon

On Friday night, the former captain made a radio and television statement promising to fight the fires at the Amazon. His speech, however, was drowned out by citizens with shouts, whistles and pot banging.

Hours before, a boycott of his speech was convened through social networks. The citizens' action had a strong reception. Even in some well-off neighborhoods, there were people yelling and honking against the environmental disaster.

In Rio de Janeiro, for instance, the pot banging was notorious in the southern zone neighborhoods, which is the most touristy and well-off area.

Outrage was also notorious at Rio's western area, especially in Barra de Tijuca, the high class neighborhood where Bolsonaro lives. The situation could not have been more embarrassing for him, as local media reported.​​​

During his speech, however, Bolsonaro repeated his explanations of the situation that had been widely criticized, among which is the attribution of fires to natural reasons.

After 19 days of doing nothing, the former capitan said that he had signed a decree to send the army to those Amazon states that request them to help stop deforestation and fight fires.

In Sao Paulo, the far-right President's promises did not alter the spirit of thousands of people who defended the world's largest rainforest by shouting phrases such as "Fire to the fascists", "War on Bolsonaro", "Long life to the Amazon" and "Get out Bolsonaro."

Throughout Friday, outside Brazil, thousands of people also joined protests against Bolsonaro by performing demonstrations in front of the Brazilian embassies and consulates in European and Latin American cities.

One of the international organizations that convened the mobilizations was the "Fridays for Future" movement, headed by the young Swedish Greta Thuberg, which called for the protest under the motto "SOS Amazon."​​​​​​​

“Right now, fires, which spread very quickly, are destroying the Amazon rainforest at an alarming rate. Our house is literally burning and our planet's lungs are turning to ash, ”Thuberg said.

Protests against the "ecocide" taking place at the Amazon continue in several cities around the world on Saturday. Amidst the Group of Seven (G7) Summit in Biarritz (France), eco-activists and human rights defenders are shouting against Bolsonaro, who dismantled the Environment Ministry after becoming Brazil's President on January 1, 2019.​​​​​​​

According to data released by the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE), the Amazon was the area where more than half of the 71,497 forest fires detected in Brazil occurred between January and August of this year, a figure which represents an increase in 83 percent over the same period of 2018.

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