Brazil: Protests across Country Denounce the Genocidal Military Government of Bolsonaro

By David Martinez

Tens of thousands demonstrated across Brazil this past Saturday against the genocidal military government of fascist president Jair Bolsonaro. As reported by Brazilian revolutionary newspaper A Nova Democracia (AND), demonstrations took place in over 200 cities and towns, with the wide participation of the Brazilian people, including workers, students, unions, and people’s organizations.

Protesters raised demands for the COVID-19 vaccine, jobs, and food, as well as denounced the crimes of the government, which has caused the deaths of 470,000 Brazilians during the coronavirus pandemic. Major protests took place in Rio de Janeiro, São Paolo, Brasilia, Salvador, and many other cities all over the country.

In many of the protests, demonstrators raised the call to defend the League of Poor Peasants (LCP, Liga dos Camponeses Pobres) and the Brazilian agrarian revolution. Protesters demanded the release of four young peasants from Camp Manoel Ribeiro who were recently arrested in the western Amazon state of Rondônia and denounced Bolsonaro’s attempts to paint those in the peasants’ movement as terrorists.

Revolutionary people’s organizations were notable participants in the demonstrations, some carrying banners that read, “Neither Bolsonaro, Nor Mourão*, Nor the Congress of Corruption, Out with the Reactionary Armed Forces!” and raising the demand for emergency aid of R$1,000 reais (about $200 US) a month until the end of the pandemic.

At some protests, such as in Rio de Janeiro, independent combative blocs were formed where the flags were flown of revolutionary organizations of students, youth, and teachers, such as the Revolutionary Popular Student Movement (MEPR, Movimento Estudantil Popular Revolucionário), Red Unity – League of Revolutionary Youth (UV-LJR, Unidade Vermelha – Liga da Juventude Revolucionária), and the Class-Conscious Movement of Education Workers (Moclate, Movimento Classista dos Trabalhadores em Educação). Students and teachers raised the demand against the government’s attacks on public education with banners reading, “Down with the budget cuts! Defend public and free universities!”

Overhead view of a protest in Recife.

In Recife, in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco, opportunist elements attempted to demobilize the planned protest and divert it into a “symbolic” act of staying within a major plaza, but the people moved out into the streets regardless. As they marched, the protesters were applauded by workers and other onlookers, who also joined in on chants. The protest was later attacked by military police with rubber bullets and tear gas, but the people and combative organizations militantly defended the march from the police onslaughts.

The Workers’ League (Liga Operaria), a revolutionary workers’ organization, was part of a protest in Belo Horizonte that numbered around 50,000 people. A representative from the organization interviewed by AND said, “Class-conscious, combative, and democratic movements know that if the demonstrations are not conducted with maturity, maintaining the path of struggle, without any illusions in this old democracy, rejected in the electoral farce by the masses, they may be deceived and taken to the path of conciliation.”

In an editorial on the protests, AND gave the following assessment: “Although it is not yet clear what the consequences of the demonstrations last May 29 will be, one thing is certain: they unequivocally demonstrated that Brazil is heading for gigantic political clashes in the coming months, into which all social classes will be pushed, without exception.”

* Editor’s note on Hamilton Mourão:

Hamilton Mourão, denounced in slogans seen at protests, may be less familiar to US readers. Mourão is a military general serving as Bolsonaro’s vice president. As reported by AND, in recent months the military High Command has signaled its support for Mourão to replace Bolsonaro. As the slogans raised by protesters indicate, they do not see Mourão as a solution to the failures of the Old State, and oppose him just as well as Bolsonaro.

AND has analyzed the current political situation in Brazil and shown that a counterrevolutionary coup is in process. According to AND, the high military commanders “have conducted a counterrevolutionary military coup process through the occupation of positions in the Executive branch and in the old State in general.”

The generals seem to still be measuring their next steps. As AND says, the divergence between different factions of the bourgeoisie is based “on which political system of domination to impose (overtly fascist and corporative, according to Bolsonaro, or… the deformed demoliberal [false liberal ‘democracy’—Ed.] form, as the generals advocate). Both forces fight to carry out the coup that would create a new political system, each one according to his project, both ultra-reactionary, which will attack the rights of the popular masses, with the restriction of democratic, civil, and political rights and greater reactionary militarization in society.”

Protesters in São Luís carry a banner reading “Neither Bolsonaro, nor Mourão, Out with the Reactionary Armed Forces! Vaccine for the people now! Emergency aid of R$1000 until the end of the Pandemic”

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