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  • People pay tribute to councilwoman Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Nov. 1, 2019.

    People pay tribute to councilwoman Marielle Franco in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Nov. 1, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 November 2019

People took to the streets to protest against the authoritarian threats coming from Bolsonaro and his regime.

Brazil’s student organizations, social movements, unions, and progressive parties on Tuesday held protests across the country with the motto, "For justice, democracy and rights. For Marielle, enough of Bolsonaro!"

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“Let the Latin American winds reach Brazil. Everyone to the streets against absurd statements from the dictatorship's puppies. Dictatorship never again! Who ordered Marielle to be killed?” the Landless Worker’s Movement (MST) spokesperson Joao Pedro Stedile said.

The new wave of protests that shook Brazil was triggered by an interview in which President Jair Bolsonaro's son, federal lawmaker Eduardo Bolsonaro, warned that “if the Left becomes more radical,” the government would have to implement the Institutional Law Number 5 (AI-5).

In saying the above, he tacitly threatened to revive a legal instrument enacted in 1968 which allowed the military dictatorship to detain people without a court order and for an indeterminate period.

Regarding these statements, Brazil's former leftist President Dilma Rousseff recalled that the Bolsonaro regime had repeatedly threatened to use violent methods as a form of social control.

“No one should be surprised because the Bolsonaro family has repeatedly expressed itself against democracy. They have defended the military dictatorship and, therefore, the AI-5; they worship totalitarian regimes and dictators; they honor torture and torturers; they fraternize with militiamen," the Workers’ Party leader said.

With respect to Eduardo Bolsonaro's statements, the Brazilian Bar Association also displayed a critical stance.

“The lawmaker's statements are very serious. They are an affront to the Constitution and the democratic rule of law. They are an unacceptable flirt with fascist examples and with a past full of arbitrariness, press censorship, torture and lack of freedoms."

"Protests also gained support from the Brazil Popular and Fearless People fronts, as well as from lawmakers who are against Bolsonaro's misrule." The meme reads, "Tomorrow will be another day."

Besides criticizing the ruling elite's authoritarianism, Brazilian social and political organizations are mobilized to reject bills and policies which seek to reduce the number of public servants and extinguish the Single Health System (SUS), which is "essential for the working class and the poor."

They also criticized attempts to privatize public universities well as the persecution of professors who do not align with the Brazilian far-right's projects.

"I never imagined that, in the 21st century, at 18 years of age, I could fear the return of an authoritarian state in Brazil," the Union of Secondary Students of Brazil (UBES) president Pedro Gorki said.

Another point bringing Brazilians together in the streets is impunity in the case of the Rio de Janeiro councilwoman Marielle Franco, a socialist and gender activist who was shot dead on March 14, 2018.

At the end of October, mainstream media O Globo reported on the existence of some evidence that could link the president's family in this political crime.

As a response to what he called “villainous journalism”, President Bolsonaro threatened not to renew the concession to the TV network.

In addition to the Tuesday demonstrations, progressive parties and social movements will file a lawsuit for Eduardo Bolsonaro to lose his term as a lawmaker.

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