Since March 17th, Brazilians quarantined in their homes have been coming out to their balconies every night in protest over President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Brazil’s president has been heavily criticized for his nonchalant, cynical attitude towards the global pandemic, placing millions of people at risk.
Last week, Bolsonaro urged Brazilians to get back to work in defiance of the world’s medical community, an order which state governors largely ignored. Bolsonaro calls the pandemic the “little flu” and has joked about how “we’ll all die one day,” calling for a refocus on the economy instead of the health needs of Brazilians.
Meanwhile, just three out of 27 states in Brazil have relaxed their social isolation measures. Celebrities, artists, and even famous soccer players like Neymar have joined the campaign #ficaemcasa—#StayHome—urging Brazilians to flatten the curve.
According to the Guardian, Brazil is witnessing “an extensive campaign of civil disobedience initiated by governors, mayors, the overwhelming majority of religious leaders and the media.” Now, people from every major city are coming out to their balconies with pots and pans on a collective “panelaço” calling for Bolsonaro’s impeachment.
As of today, Brazil reported 6,836 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 240 deaths, the highest number in Latin America so far, most of those occurring in populous cities where social and economic inequities have become the perfect storm for the virus.—Sofia Jarrin-Thomas