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EMILY THORNBERRY slammed the “politics of hatred” represented by Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro at the launch of the Brazil Solidarity Initiative on Tuesday night.
The shadow foreign secretary addressed over 350 people, who had queued in the cold outside the House of Commons for nearly an hour, at the launch of the new campaign, which will stand shoulder to shoulder with millions of Brazilians resisting the rise of the far right in their country.
Chair Richard Burgon, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, opened the meeting by warning: “The threat of Bolsonaro can’t be underestimated,” pointing out that “he’s a long-time supporter of the military dictatorship in Brazil.”
And Ms Thornberry said: “The politics of hatred may have taken over the presidential palace, but I do not believe it has taken over Brazil.
“Tonight, we send a message to Brazil that we stand with you in these difficult times.”
Fellow Labour MP Chris Williamson highlighted US President Donald Trump’s support for Mr Bolsonaro as an ally in his drive to oust left-wing governments across Latin America, while Labour peer Baroness Jean Corston stressed that the progress in tackling poverty achieved by the Workers Party governments of Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva must not be forgotten.
Workers Party representative Julia Felmanas said solidarity was urgently needed.
“Already, under the coup government of Michel Temer we have seen the curtailment of rights and killings of indigenous leaders,” she said, adding that Mr Temer’s rule has “laid the ground for the rise of the far right.“
She also raised the need to support Lula, who, having been jailed on trumped-up corruption charges, “is a political prisoner and is going to be a symbol for the people whose rights are threatened.”
Christine Blower of the National Education Union highlighted the threat that Mr Bolsonaro poses to the safety of all progressives, while the TUC’s Stephen Russell warned that unions “now face being criminalised by Bolsonaro’s new laws.”
National Union of Students executive member Myriam Kane said equality campaigners need to get involved in the solidarity initiative, noting Mr Bolsonaro’s statements that homosexuality is due to “not enough beatings” and that his children wouldn’t date Africans because they had been brought up properly.
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