"Olympic Calamity" is the theme of the action which unites three leftist fronts in Copacabana
On the same day as the opening ceremony of the Olympics, various organizations of the Brazilian left held a protest in Rio de Janeiro. The demonstration was called for by three fronts: Brazil Popular Front, People Without Fear and Socialist Left.
The event started at 11am on Friday (August 5), opposite the Copacabana Palace, and in the early afternoon, with more than 30 thousand people participating in the protest, according to organizers. The Military Police did not give estimates.
The demonstration criticizes three issues: the Temer government, the process of the withdrawal of rights and the "Olympic Calamity".
"There is an institutional and parliamentary coup going on in the country and we have to break the barrier of the Brazilian media, which does not say anything about it. The so-called legacy of the Olympics is not a legacy for most of Rio's people. The legacy is what the workers are calling eviction. From now until the end of the games, the climate will be popular mobilization," spoke Guilherme Boulos, coordinator of the Movement of Homeless Workers (MTST), which is part of the Front of People Without Fear.
"The illegitimate president Michel Temer has made an absurd package of withdrawals of rights, public spending cuts, changes in retirement and labor legislation. Rio de Janeiro is experiencing an Olympic Calamity. Absurd works done by contractors such as the Olympic Village. Chaos in education and public health, intentionally ignored by the press. More violence against the population, with Army and National Force in the streets. And real estate speculation, which produces rising rents and evictions against the poor," says demonstrator that called the protest.
The final destination of the demonstration was the Posto Seis de Copacabana, and the expected end time was at 4:00 PM.
Under the justification for the games, an unprecedented contingent of members of the police and the armed forces are present in the capital Rio de Janeiro. In addition, political demonstrations are prohibited in and near the sports arenas.
"I wanted to give a message to Alexandre de Moraes [Minister of Justice]: We do not intimidate. We will not fail to mobilizations during the Olympics by threats, because they want to fit the demonstrations under the Anti-Terrorism Act," Boulos said during a press conference on Thursday (August 4).
The relationship between the Brazilian political situation and the Games was one of the keynotes of protest. "They took our democracy in the big hand. We have to go to the streets every day. These Olympics do not represent the Brazilian people. My 'Olympics', started in 2002, when public policies started to happen, the democratization of health and education began to be effective. It was in this context that the Olympics would be in Brazil, but not in this context that it is taking place, but in the midst of a coup," says Talita Matos, educator participating in the demonstration.
By the time international attention turns to Brazil because of the sporting event, the event became the opportunity to denounce the impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff (PT [Worker’s Party]).
"We are living a decisive moment in the history of Brazil in which they try to consummate the coup. Here is the strength of the people, showing that morality of the fight, we will not accept the set of neoliberal measures that comes in the midst of this process. We are living in a paradoxical moment, who accompanies realize that it is a scam, however, the mainstream media covers it," explains Ricardo Gebrim, national coordinator of the Popular Consultation, a member of the Brazil Popular Front.
"We're in the fight against Temer, but also against the mega events. We know that the Olympics are part of a major capital project, which brings removals of communities, impacts on people's lives. We want to say that we are not part of this project. We are in favor of the games, but not the exclusive games that enhance the process of an illegitimate government. We will fight to the end against the coup government,” adds Regina Nivia, the state leadership (RJ) of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST).