Brazilians tired of waiting for President Jair Bolsonaro have taken the streets as part of a mass movement organized by labor unions, various sports clubs, anti-authoritarians, and the political party Raízes 88, among other organizations. As deaths from the coronavirus pandemic top 530,000, massive bi-weekly demonstrations have taken place across Brazil since May 29 calling for social improvements and the resignation of Bolsonaro.
According to the protest organizers anti-Bolsonaro protests took place in every state in Brazil on June 18 and they weren’t limited to Brazil itself. Outside the country, demonstrations in solidarity with the Brazilian people were also reported in Dublin, Madrid, London, Paris, and Miami. Large protests occurred throughout the country on July 3 as well.
“This government needs to be held responsible for its criminal omission and negligence.“– Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva, activist and Raízes party member
Many Brazilians say they’re tired of Bolsonaro’s “unruling” and see no options remaining except to take to the streets. With demonstrations getting bigger, the demand for the immediate exit of President Bolsonaro is gaining strength all around the country.
Aside from calls for Bolsonaro to resign or be impeached, issues championed by protesters include universal vaccination, violence against Black people, hunger, unemployment, the return of the emergency aid, the lack of funding for education, Indigenous rights, the COVID-19 parliamentary committee of inquiry and the unpreparedness of the federal government to deal with the pandemic.
During the June 18 demo, we talked with Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva about the protests. Da Silva’s been active in political mobilizations since 2018. She is a resident of Cariacica, Espírito Santo, a member of the Raízes political party, the Espírito Santo Women’s Forum and the Círculo Palmarino (Palmarino Circle) a movement for Black rights.
UR: Why did you join the anti-Bolsonaro protests?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: I was a part of the 2018 “Ele Não” movement because I could already understand how harmful this government would be and the setbacks it would bring. What was confirmed with the pandemic situation, it showed just how harmful this management is, it’s genocidal. It’s the government of death, literally.
UR: Do you think Bolsonaro’s government lost control of the people when they went to the streets?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: Yes, there’s a lot of regretful people because they believed in fake promises, but I also see a lot of people who abstained from voting before but now are taking a position against this government.
UR: To you, what’s more dangerous, Bolsonaro or the coronavirus?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: Bolsonaro, for sure, he’s responsible for more deaths than the virus and he’s neglecting the fight against COVID. A lot of those deaths are due to this negligence and the neglect with the population from a negationist government where the existence of COVID-19 is denied and the immunization is also denied.
UR: This social mobilization, that isn’t just made of left-aligned people anymore, will it give strength to the coronavirus parliamentary committee of inquiry?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: We hope so, this government needs to be held responsible for it’s criminal omission and negligence.
UR: Are you in favor of Bolsonaro’s impeachment?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: Totally in favor, the sooner the better.
UR: How do you see the political scenario in 2022?
Patrícia Gonçalves da Silva: Polarized and with a lot of tension, but where social movements, collectives and left parties will have to assemble to make sure that this management doesn’t stand and that others like this racist, homophobic, fascist one won’t emerge… 2022 won’t have space to stand on the fence and we will have to search for union and fortification of the masses. #ForaBolsonaro
Deaths attributed to the coronavirus continue to rise and the impacts on the healthcare system continue to worsen. Ten brazilian states showed a high number of deaths: Paraná (PR), Ceará (CE), Rondônia (RO), Rio de Janeiro (RJ), São Paulo (SP), Goiás (GO), Paraíba (PB), Minas Gerais (MG). The most lethal state as of July 9, 2021, is still São Paulo, with 3.84 Million confirmed cases and over 131,000 deaths.
There are also ongoing protests in Brasília, the capitol city of the country, where a group of about 850 Indigenous people of 48 different groups, have been taking part in the Levante pela Terra Camp (Standing up for the Land) and occupying space outside Congress in opposition to the draft law PL 490/2007 since June 8. The drafted bill would alter the Indigenous statutes and take away the ownership of land and its resources from the Indigenous people.
The rapporteur of the Comissão de Constituição e Justiça (CCJ) [Constitution and Justice Committee] is the congressman Arthur Maia (DEM-BA) and the author of the bill is the congressman Homero Pereira (PR-MT), who is now deceased. The official ruling of the bill has been pushed back to the Fall.
PART 1/3 As the Supreme Court decision on the Marco Temporal Doctrine is postponed, the Guarani and Kaiowá people continue to protest against PL 490 alongside other indigenous communities in Brasilia. pic.twitter.com/E9KayvhYGY
— UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab (MAL) (@UCL_mal) July 2, 2021
For many Brazilians, whether politicized or not, dealing with the pandemic and what many deem a lack of proper leadership has led people back to the thought of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula as the one to possibly overpower the Bolsonaro government.
In the last three anti-Bolsonaro national mobilizations, it was easy to find people with t-shirts, stickers, and caps, among others with the former president Lula da Silva’s face printed on it, or even the phrase “Lula 2022.”
The former president demonstrated in social networks that he would be a part of the manifestations, but backed out at the last minute.
Although some politicians try to avoid giving electoral character to the anti-Bolsonaro protests that are continually growing, what is obvious is the fact that this social movement gives the left-wing strength in the 2022 elections, with a lesser risk to be caught by surprise with another right wing extremist “wave.”
Until 2022 arrives, many Brazilian people are continuing like this: Enquanto 2022 não chega, que o povo brasileiro continue assim: “For vaccine on the arm, food on the plate and Fora Bolsonaro.”
Cover image of Autonomous Bloc demo against Bolsonaro in São Paulo on July 3, 2021 via Rede de Informações Anarquista.
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