Brazilian unions held on Friday a national mourning day to denounce far-right president Jair Bolsonaro and his administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country faces a rising death toll and an increment in the infections.
Brazil: COVID-19 Cases Continue to Rise
The Central Union, alongside the People's National Coordination of Struggles (Conlutas), called a demonstration named "National Day of Struggle and Mourning." Protestors rallied in several cities such as Mato Grosso; the South of Sao Paulo; Brasilia; Manaus; Natal and Sao José dos Campos among others.
Demonstrators from sectors like mining, health, and fuel held posters calling attention to the 100.000 deaths caused by the pandemic so far. At the same time, the president has repeatedly dismissed the scope of the infections.
Brazilian unions have been targeted by Bolsonaro even before he became president. According to the far-right politician, "there is an excess of rights" regarding labor in the country, so one of its first strikes against unions was to dissolve the Labor Ministry back in 2018.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bolsonaro attempted to leave thousands of workers unprotected. However, after a hard-fought battle with legislators and the people, he was forced in March to back a decree that would allow companies to suspend the workers' payment using the pandemic as a pretext.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), as of July, the COVID-19 pandemic had already ended 7.8 million jobs, and about 13 million Brazilians remained unemployed.
Nevertheless, president Bolsonaro vetoed a moratorium on evictions. Hence, thousands of families across the country are at risk of being homeless or living in those conditions already.