Noisy protests in Brazil over Bolsonaro's handling of coronavirus crisis

Housebound citizens call for him to go 

Women bang pots at the window of their house as they protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Rio de Janeiro
Women bang pots at the window of their house as they protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Rio de Janeiro

Housebound protesters in Brazil have expressed their anger at President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of coronavirus, the pandemic he previously dismissed as “fantasy”.

Residents make their displeasure known on Wednesday night by banging pots and pans and by shouting "Bolsonaro out!" from their homes in the country's major cities.

The same phrase was also projected onto buildings, according to videos posted on social media.

Bolsonaro faces mounting criticism for his response to the pandemic, with the country’s currency reaching an all-time low this week.

Carlos Melo, a political science professor at the Insper University in Sao Paulo said: "Coronavirus in Brazil is acting as a kind of catalyst, channelling all this discontent and accelerating the process."

Although he at first called the disease a “fantasy”, Mr Bolsonaro has now declared a national emergency.

However, he has yet to take many preventative measures to slow the spread of the virus, unlike other countries in South America.

Brazil has only closed its border with Venezuela to all vehicles except those carrying goods or humanitarian aid. It is considering extending this ban to its other land borders.

Four people have died from the disease in the country and more than 500 people have tested positive for it.

Two ministers, the head of the senate and one of the president’s national security advisers are among those infected.

The president says he has twice been tested for COVID-19, with both results coming back negative.

However, 14 officials who accompanied him on a trip to meet Donald Trump 10 days ago have tested positive.

To add to Mr Bolsonaro’s problems, his son Eduardo, a federal lawmaker, has become entangled in a diplomatic spat with China, Brazil’s top trade partner.

In a tweet on Wednesday, the president’s son blamed China for allegedly covering up the pandemic, saying: "It's China's fault and freedom is the answer.”

The Chinese embassy in Brazil responded by saying the allegations were “extremely irresponsible”.

Additional reporting from Reuters

 

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