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Updated March 13th, 2022 at 07:44 IST

Brazil: Thousands take to streets to protest against govt's 'anti-environment' mining bill

After one of Brazil's most well-known artists, Caetano Veloso, organised a large demonstration, thousands of people have assembled in the capital city 

Brazil
Image: AP | Image:self
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After one of Brazil's most well-known artists, Caetano Veloso, organised a large demonstration, thousands of people have assembled in the capital city on Wednesday to criticise what environmentalists have described President Jair Bolsonaro's "historic assault on the Brazilian environment," The Guardian reported. The "Ato pela Terra" ( or Stand for the Earth) demonstration rally was staged in Brasilia to protest what campaigners are calling a "death combo" of five environmental measures now being debated in Brazil's congress. 

According to Euro News, President Bolsonaro's latest anti-environment bill would reduce Amazon's environmental protections and enable mining on Indigenous territory. 

Three of the 5 measures are scheduled to be voted on in the Senate in the upcoming weeks, while the other two are expected to be voted on in the lower house. According to The Guardian, if the measures are approved, the proposals would allow commercial mining on indigenous lands, jeopardising the land rights of thousands of indigenous people; would relax environmental licensing requirements as well as pesticide regulations; and empower land grabbers and illegal loggers in Brazil's Amazon, in which deforestation has surged underneath the far-right president's watch. 

Furthermore, indigenous individuals donning feathered headdresses, students with anti-pesticide posters, and toddlers costumed as bees mixed up with the crowd beneath a large inflatable capybara and a penguin, Euro News reported. 

Protesters demonstrate to oppose legislation that constituted 'clear threat to environment'

In addition to this, celebrities who joined Veloso at the event outside Congress, including, Emicida, Lázaro Ramos, as well as Daniela Mercury, encouraged residents to oppose legislation that constituted a "clear threat to the environment." “I think it’s time for us to get out onto the streets and to show our faces,” citing Veloso, The Guardian reported.  

Before the protest rally, Caetano Veloso has even told the members of Congress that Brazil has reached its most important environmental juncture since the return of democracy in the 1980s. He urged MPs to reject the five measures, saying, "Amazon deforestation is out of control … our international credibility has been shattered." 

Protesters are protesting in a desire to push legislators to reject or alter the laws, which are backed by the powerful agriculture lobby, reflecting concerns about the climate emergency and indigenous people impacted by environmental damage, The Guardian reported. According to environmentalists, if the anti-environment bill passes, Bolsonaro's anti-environmental policies would be enshrined in law for years to come, even if he does not win re-election this year. 

Meanwhile, as per surveys, Jair Bolsonaro will lose the election in October to his left-wing opponent, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who has outraged many people with his anti-scientific handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has killed over 650,000 Brazilians. 

(Image: AP)

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Published March 13th, 2022 at 07:44 IST

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