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News > Brazil

Social Movements Protest Bolsonaro's Environmental Policies

  • Indigenous tribes marching to government offices in Brasilia on April 26, 2019

    Indigenous tribes marching to government offices in Brasilia on April 26, 2019 | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 June 2019

Protesters gathered in front of the facility of the Environment Ministry, holding hands in a symbolic gesture.

Indigenous people, environmental activists, and other rights groups protested Tuesday in Brasilia against the government's far-right policies targeting environmental preservation and nature, and coinciding with the launch of Environment Week in the capital. 

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Elisabeth Uema, president of the National Association of Environmental Servants (Ascema) and a member of the grassroots environmental Mare movement, said that the protest means to raise awareness of the importance of environmental struggles sin society.

"Society must see the environment as an ecosystem that has a direct impact on their lives: issues like water, air, forests, all run through the life of every citizen," she told Brazil do Fato.

Two months ago, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro expressed his desire to 'exploit' the Brazilian Amazon together with the United States and 'revise´ the borders of Indigenous territory.

He said he thought that Indigenous and Afro-descended people would be better off if they "sell or exploit" their lands.

Last January, among one of his first moves as President, Bolsonaro transferred responsibility for setting the boundaries of Indigenous reservations from the Justice Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry, an institution which has traditionally defended the interests of white landowners.

The decision, later reversed by Brazil's congress. was harshly criticized around the world by human rights groups and environmental activists, who denounced Bolsonaro’s neoliberal policies, saying they will accelerate the intrusion of industrial agriculture, the pace deforestation and the growth of human rights violations in the Amazon.

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