Sao Paulo, Sep 26 (efe-epa).- Brazilians joined the global “Friday for Future” protests to demand action against climate change across different cities and opposed the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Hundreds of activists gathered in Sao Paulo and Brasilia to mark the Global Action Day to raise the alarm about the growing climate crisis.
In Sao Paulo, protesters gathered outside the Institute of Environment to demand the resignation of Bolsonaro, leader of the Brazilian far-right, and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles.
Their leadership regarding environmental policies has been harshly criticized by European nations and local and international nonprofits, which have accused the government of promoting deforestation through its rhetoric and support for large landowners.
A group of indigenous Guarani people, who demonstrated in defense of traditional communities, joined the protest, which included coffins displayed with pictures of Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro has accused them of deliberately setting off forest fires in the Amazons.
“Our rights are not being respected. We face lies and are being attacked (…). The government does not hold a dialog with the indigenous population,” Thiago Henrique Karai, a Guarani leader from the Jaragua indigenous region, told EFE.
Bolsonaro’s stand on the destruction of the Amazon forests and the Pantanal – the largest wetland in the world – was severely criticized by dozens of protesters who gathered outside the Planalto presidential palace in Brasilia.
“Brazil is destroying nature. (…) The Brazilian government is criminal and against the environment,” Roberto Ferdinand, member of the Global Climate Strike, told EFE.
According to official data, in 2019-20, fire hotspots and destruction in the Amazons have reached their worst levels in more than a decade, and the fires are rapidly moving towards the vast wetlands of Pantanal – which stretches across Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay – with thousands of animals charred to death.
Despite international pressure, Bolsonaro earlier this week spoke at the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations adamantly defending his much-criticized environmental policies.
He emphasized that his government was the victim of a “brutal campaign.”
The president said the “disinformation campaign” was backed by international institutions and “unpatriotic Brazilian associations, with the purpose of undermining the government and Brazil itself.” EFE-EPA