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Brazil: Censorship Law Is Used To Shield Bolsonaro From Critics

  • Citizens show a poster calling Bolsonaro genocidal in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19, 2021. 

    Citizens show a poster calling Bolsonaro genocidal in Brasilia, Brazil, March 19, 2021.  | Photo: Twitter/ @FujiiPonta

Published 20 March 2021

The Federal Police has used the national security law from the dictatorship era over 80 times during President Jair Bolsonaro's government.

Protestesters have been arrested in Brasilia after calling Bolsonaro “genocidal” for his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and displaying a cartoon depicting him as a Nazi.


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“They were jailed because the description ‘genocidal’ suits our president very well. He has contributed to our health care system's collapse due to the lack of vaccines. Police can’t silence us,” said the geography teacher Katia Garcia.

Brasilia police stated the four detainees on Thursday violated the national security law since they showed a swastika associated with the presidency's symbol.

The abovementioned law dates from the last years of the military dictatorship in the country, and it is being frequently used to judge citizens who show their disagreement with Bolsonaro's policies.

The Federal police release three out of four detainees since charges against them will not stand in front of any jury. However, this federal corp has conducted over 80 investigations during Bolsonaro’s first two years, and over 10 in the first 45 days of 2021 by invoking this law.

The cases are often related to Bolsonaro's prominent critics, including a newspaper columnist, a political cartoonist, and the popular YouTuber Felipe Neto. 

"The national security law should be revoked and replaced by a more modern tool, capable of reconciling the protection of the rule of law and the respect of individual rights," according to Brazilian media outlet O Globo. 

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