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  • People demonstrate against presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018.

    People demonstrate against presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 31 March 2019

Following the backlash, the far-right president  "commemorate but to remember," which critics rejected as using a different word to express the same sentiment.

Several social organizations of Brazil were organizing Sunday various marches in the main cities of the country in opposition to President Jair Bolsonaro’s order to commemorate the military dictatorship (1964-1985) which came to power through a coup on March 31, 1964 against democratically elected President João Goulart.

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Under the slogan "Dictatorship Never Again," the demonstrations will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, the country's capital.

Jair Bolsonaro said that military personnel were free to hld activities and parades in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the coup that paved the way to one of Latin America’s most brutal dictatorships that lasted more than two decades and saw five military president's rule the natio while cracking down on leftist and progressive dissidents in the country who called for democratic rule.

The dictatorship left almost 500 murdered and disappeared, while thousands were tortured, according to the official figures, but rights organizations and official agencies say that the figures could be even higher due to the lack of records under the dictatorship specially when it came to Campesino and Indigenous victims.

Days ahead of his visit to Israel, Bolsonaro asked that the coup anniversary be remembered with the "due celebrations", a call that was answered in some barracks and regiments during the past week, ahead of the date.

Given the rejection aroused by a large part of the Brazilian population, the president went on to say that the idea was not to "commemorate but to remember," which critics rejected as using a different word to express the same sentiment.

On Friday, the Order of Lawyers of Brazil and the Herzog Vladimir Institute sent a letter to the United Nations (UN in which they said that the president's order "does not take into account the atrocities" of the dictatorship, an attitude that “hurts human rights."

On the same day Judge Ivani Silva da Luz said the planned celebration of the country’s 1964 coup Sunday was not "compatible with the process of democratic reconstruction" promoted by the 1988 constitution and that commemorative dates must be approved by Congress.

A day later, a Brazilian appeals court reversed Silva da Luz the country’s democracy must support a “pluralism of ideas,” ruling to allow Sunday anniversary celebrations of the 1964 coup d'état.

Brazilians took to social media earlier this week following the news calling out Bolsonaro for "celebrating" the military dictatorship and its coup using the hashtag #DitaduraNuncaMais (No More Dictatorship).

"Hey world! While different countries around the world are ashamed of their authoritarian past, the president of Brazil, @jairbolsonaro chooses to celebrate the military dictatorship’s anniversary. (+) #DitaduraNuncaMais," a Brazilian said in a tweet using the hashtag.

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