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  • Monica Benicio, wife of late Marielle Franco human rights defender, at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mar. 5, 2019.

    Monica Benicio, wife of late Marielle Franco human rights defender, at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mar. 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 7 March 2019

Besides not understanding what Brazil is, President Bolsonaro's criticism "wants to create a country of people afraid to live."

Although the Carnival officially ended on Wednesday and Rio de Janeiro returned to its daily work routine, Brazilians disapproved of the criticism that President Jair Bolsonaro made to their Carnival.

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"This is absurd because he is doing with Carnival what he does with all political issues. He takes a small image and tries to put it as if it were a generalization of what happens at Carnival," Tainara Ravelo, who participated in the first Rio’s feminist bloc, explained, adding that “sexual freedom is part of our Carnival. It is the option people have to show themselves as they are."

Rosana Lobo, a young mother who enjoyed the Carnival's parade with her whole family, does not support Bolsonaro's moralizing stance either.

"The government is wrong. It does not want to get closer to the real Brazil. It wants to create a country with people afraid to live, be on the streets and express their feelings," Lobo said.

"Of course Bolsonaro did not like Carnival. With his habitual dishonesty, he chose an isolated scene from an isolated block. With his habitual irresponsibility, he put it on Twitter. Eliane Brum: Bolsonaro is the true obscenity."

In a more radical mood, Julian Leite, a young Brazilian woman, referred to President Bolsonaro as "a piece of..." when asked about his criticism of Rio de Janeiro Carnival.

The strong images shared by Bolsonaro were also criticized by many Internet users, who made the hashtag #ImpeachmentBolsonaro one of the world’s most commented topics on March 6.

Paula Lavigne, the wife of the musician Caetano Veloso, was one of the Brazilians who supported the Bolsonaro impeachment because his act is "incompatible with the Office dignity, honor and decorum," as Veja reported.

Despite the conservative atmosphere the far-right President Bolsonaro tries to impose on Brazil, the Carnival judges proclaimed Samba school Mangueira as the 2019 champion.

Acclaimed as the most politicized samba school, Mangueira danced at the Sambodromo paying homage to Marielle Franco, the lesbian black councilor who was murdered a year ago. According to Infobae, this rebellious samba school also paraded with a new version of the Brazilian flag, one in which the legend reads "Indians, blacks, and poor."

"The voice of the people is the voice of God. This voice that is singing today has been silent for a long time," Leandro Vieira, the Manguera's a choreographer, said and sent a "political message" to Bolsonaro: "Mangueria's carnival [is] carnival of art, a carnival of struggle, a carnival of the people."

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