Three different anti-coup political fronts representing dozens of groups opposed to the government of Michel Temer have taken to the streets of Rio to protest against the interim government on the opening day of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Burn, Brazilian Flame, Burn
The opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics takes place Friday evening in the city of Rio de Janeiro, while the demonstration is taking place in the heart of the city's tourist zone and in view of thousands of tourists from around the world who have come to Brazil for the games.
Representatives from the Popular Brazil Front, the People Without Fear Front, and the Socialist Left Front — groups that have staged regular protests since the parliamentary coup brought Temer to power — held a joint press conference where they said they wanted to take advantage of the fact that the world's attention will soon be on Brazil.
The Temer government has deployed thousands of police and troops to patrol Rio during the games, which social movements have denounced as a “militarization” of the city. Organizers of Friday's protest specified the peaceful nature of the demonstration.
The government's minister of justice, Alexandre de Moraes, has a history of utilizing repression against protests and has said he will evaluate what protests he will allow to proceed.
Organizers were nonetheless defiant.
"I wanted to give a message to Alexandre de Moraes: he will not intimidate us. We will not let threats stop us from holding demonstrations during the Olympics,” said Guilherme Boulos, the coordinator of the Movement of Homeless Workers and a member of the People Without Fear Front.
Rodrigo Marcelino from the Popular Brazil Front said that they did not ask for authorization to hold the demonstration as the Brazilian Constitution guarantees the right to protest.
De Moraes, in his capacity as Sao Paulo's chief of security, attempted to limit the constitutional right to demonstrate by demanding protest organizers provide police with a route of their marches.
Organizers said Friday's protest will focus on the following: a call for the end of the administration of interim President Michel Temer, the restoration of lost social rights, and drawing attention to the negative effects of the games on the city.
“We will show all the people who are outraged that more than R$3 billion went to the Olympics when many services are in precarious state,” said Juliete Pantoja from the Movement of the Struggle of Favelas and Neighborhoods.
Although the games have not officially begun, some events have already taken place and have been witness to protests against the Temer government.
Demonstrators unfurled a large banner denouncing the coup during the soccer match between Brazil and South Africa in Brasilia on Thursday.
Organizers of the games said they are prepared to cover the noise of protesters during events by either raising the volume of the music or playing sound effects. Security guards have also been instructed to confiscate political signs from attendees.