Ireland joins global protest against Bolsonaro's lack of action on Amazon fires

President Jair Bolsonaro's reaction to the Amazon burning has received widespread backlash from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Irish activists and many others.

Three people from Extinction Rebellion protesting the burning of the Amazon.

Extinction Rebellion and numerous other activists have gathered outside Brazilian embassies in Dublin, London, Madrid and Berlin in protest against President Jair Bolsonaro’s inaction towards the burning of the Amazon rain forest.

At the Brazilian Embassy in Ireland at Harcourt Centre, Anne Marie Kelly, from Extinction Rebellion Ireland, said, “If we don’t stop it now, we will reach a tipping point from which there will be no coming back.”

Woman holding a sign saying hshtag Stop Brazils Genocide as part of Extinction Rebellion protest

Kelly continued, “For us, it is the lungs of the planet. […] We will eventually feel the effects of that […] if it continues in this destructive manner. It’s horrendous what’s going on.”

“We have to stand in solidarity with them because they are fighting for their own survival and we will stand with them while they do.”

The Extinction Rebellion protest is a show of solidarity for the indigenous people of Brazil who have lost their homes through the destruction of the rain forest. Extinction Rebellion, who highlighted their key goals of combating climate change in  GCN Issue 353, shared a live video of today’s protest on their Facebook page.

In London, a young man from Extinction Rebellion has glued his hand to the Brazilian embassy building.

Indigenous women in Brazil marched against Bolsonaro during the week. The women are sending the government a message that “the Amazon is ours”.

People are voicing their outrage at the lack of action on social media, through hashtag #Savetheamazon and #Ourlungsareburning’. Madonna and Viola Davis have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has expressed his concern over the record levels of destruction to the rain forest. He further stated Ireland would not vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments. Bolsonaro’s attempt to shift blame for the fires onto NGOs was described by Varadkar as “Orwellian”.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, has shown support for French president Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to put the extinguishing of the fires onto the agenda for this weekend’s G7 summit. 

The French president described the situation as an international crisis. In response, Bolsonaro has accused Macron of having a “colonialist mentality”. 

While the fires continue to spread across the Amazon, Bolsonaro has prioritised blocking funding for LGBT+ films and screenplays. In regard to the fires, he said, “I do not defend the burnings, because there always was and always will be burnings. Unfortunately, this has always happened in the Amazon […]. But accusing me of being a Captain Nero setting fire to things is irresponsible. It is campaigning against Brazil.”

Woman waving the flag at the Extinction Rebellion protest of the Amazon burning

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