NGOs call on Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate weapon fired during pro-government rally in São Paulo

Organizations condemn violence at political protests and request an investigation into the gunshot that wounded a woman at an event on Avenida Paulista on Sunday, March 15

Manifestante participa de ato pró-governo na Avenida Paulista (Foto: Roberto Parizotti) Manifestante participa de ato pró-governo na Avenida Paulista (Foto: Roberto Parizotti)

Following a gunshot that wounded a woman who was protesting against President Jair Bolsonaro during the pro-government rally on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo last Sunday, March 15, civil society organizations have issued a statement condemning violence at political protests.

In the statement, the organizations Sou da Paz Institute, Brazilian Public Security Forum, Conectas Human Rights, Frente Favela Brasil (Favela Front Brazil) and Igarapé Institute called on the São Paulo State Public Prosecutor’s Office and Civil Police to immediately investigate the case and transparently release the results of the investigation.

“National politics is reaching intolerable levels of aggression and confrontation and the democratic sectors of society cannot accept political violence becoming a characteristic of the nation,” they said. “The right to stage demonstrations and protests needs to be strengthened in Brazil, but for this to occur incidents of violence, especially by armed demonstrators, cannot be tolerated and warrant a quick response from the authorities”.

The organizations also condemned the event being held during the coronavirus pandemic and the support of government officials, such as President Bolsonaro, for the demonstration that called for the closure of democratic institutions, such as the National Congress and the Supreme Court.

“It is extremely serious, in itself, that the organizers continued to stage the demonstrations in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, disregarding the unprecedented need for social distancing measures that the coronavirus requires,” reads the document. “Also worthy of contempt is the fact that the federal authorities, including the president and members of Congress, who ought to be leading the country at this time of great distress, have explicitly supported the protests when many of the demonstrators are attacking the very existence of the Constituted Powers”.

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