Protests worldwide against Brazil Prez over Amazon fire

Brasilia, August 24 

Tens of thousands of people have taken to streets across Brazil where they chanted “burn Bolsonaro and not the Amazon” in protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s “inaction” in the face of massive wildfires that have been devastating the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Protests are also being held outside Brazil embassy offices in a number of countries.

Also at the G7 summit in France, European leaders mounted pressure for action against fires in the Amazon rainforest, despite Brazilian right wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s angry response to what he sees as outside interference. Echoing a warning from France, EU Council President Donald Tusk said Bolsonaro’s response to the fires and his downplaying of climate change threw into question a major EU-South America trade deal.

Meanwhile, demonstrators in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Brasilia, among other cities, on Friday demanded a decisive action to protect the Amazon and denounced the far-right President, whose initial reaction to the fires was to blame them on environmentalists, Efe news reported. Bolsonaro has ordered the armed forces to help fight forest fires.

Bolsonaro on Friday called an urgent ministerial meeting to map out a strategy to combat the fires. The President, who took office in January, has moved to roll back environmental protections and to dismantle barriers to development in indigenous reserves.

Last week, according to the INPE, some 68 protected areas or indigenous reservations in the Amazon have been affected by fires.  — IANS/AFP