September 28, 2023

Brazilians take to the streets to blame Bolsanaro and better vaccine access

Protesters in the country’s largest cities, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, have called for better access to the president’s indictment and the Govt-19 vaccine. Many protesters did not appear to adhere to the social mask, although most wore masks.

Brazil is facing a third wave of Govt-19, with the health ministry reporting 79,670 new Govt-19 cases and 2,012 corona virus-related deaths on Saturday. The country has recorded more than 460,000 deaths from Govt-19 and more than 16 million infections.

Of the population of more than 210 million, about 19 million – or less than 9.4% – are fully vaccinated.

Bolsanaro underestimated the epidemic in its early stages. He previously called Govt-19 a “minor flu” and sabotaged attempts to enforce social distance or locks. Demonstrations showed signs of Bolsanaro’s actions as “genocide”.

The Brazilian Senate is investigating the Bolsanaro government’s handling of the epidemic.

In Sao Paulo, protesters expressed frustration with Bolzano’s policies.

Paulsonaro “is worse than the virus at the moment,” said Nurse Patricia Ferreira.

“We are exhausted and our health system is on the verge of collapse,” he said. “There is no solution to the epidemic with him (Bolzano) in power.”

Student Beatrice Fernando Silva said she was protesting to honor her uncle, who was killed by Govt-19 at the age of 42.

“I came here to fight for the vaccine, could not get him, and may have saved him. He died at the end of February, leaving two children and a wife,” the student said.

He said he realized the danger he was taking by “being on the street in the middle of an epidemic”, but thought it was important to talk.

“A lot of people are dying. Paulsonaro has to do something about it, but from the beginning he completely ignored it,” Silva told CNN.

An opponent wears a sign accusing Bolzano of genocide.

Demonstrations are often quiet, except for the state capital of the state of Bernambuko, police dissolved the crowd using rubber bullets, gas bombs and pepper spray. Videos circulated on social media showed a protester being shot in the eye with a rubber bullet, and police were able to use pepper spray on Liana Cisney, a local council member from the Labor Party.

Bernambuco Deputy Governor Louisiana Santos said the order to disperse the protesters had not come from the government and that an investigation into police tactics had been launched. Governor Palo Camara has suspended the police chief and concerned officers until the investigation is completed.

The protests come a week after a motorcycle rally organized by President Bolzano in Rio de Janeiro. There, he argued against the regulatory measures, while his supporters called for the removal of the Supreme Court of Brazil, which has given local governors and mayors the ability to implement measures to prevent the spread of the virus.