One year after the parliamentary coup that ousted former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and installed right-wing Michel Temer as president, the third edition of the annual Antifascist March on Saturday saw hundreds protesting in a number of cities across Brazil.
Organized by legions of anarchists, communists and a number of other left-wing organizations, the march was held in 20 cities and 15 states. It was organized in order to protest against the country’s “conservative advance” and the policies of the extreme right.
“The annual initiative that emerged in 2014 … is a horizontal initiative without leadership, currently promoted throughout Brazil by the anti-fascist movement Popular Action,” organizers told Brazilian outlet Brasil 247 days before the march.
Many of those marching also called for the release of Rafael Braga, whose case is often used to highlight Brazil’s institutionalized racism and criminalization of poverty.
Braga, a black homeless man, was first arrested back in 2013 for allegedly carrying two bottles of cleaning products. Police, who handcuffed him on the spot, claimed that he was carrying “bottles of flammable materials that can be used to commit acts of vandalism”.
Police also claimed he planned to use them in the massive demonstrations that were happening across the country at the time. While first sentenced to five years in prison, in December 2015, a court allowed him to serve the rest of his term at home in Rio de Janeiro, wearing an electronic tag.
But just a month later, he was arrested again, with police alleging he was carrying 0.6 grams of marijuana and 9.3 grams of cocaine. While Braga has claimed police forged the evidence against him, he was sentenced to 11 years and 3 months in prison on charges of drug trafficking on April 20 of this year.
Brazilian activists have denounced the disproportionality of the sentence he received.
Since Temer’s government has taken over, thecountry has seen a dramatic rightward shift, with his government receiving constant criticismfor its neoliberal policies and revanchist acts against social organizations.
Temer and several of his main allies, including eight ministers, are also under investigation for fraud and corruption connected to the country’s largest political scandal involving Petrobras and construction company Odebrecht.
Published on @telesurtv.net