By Cilene Tanaka
Protesters across Brazil have taken their vehicles to the streets for the right to go back to work during the coronavirus pandemic, furthering a divide between government and local authorities.
People in dozens of cities in Brazil went on synchronized protests on Thursday and Friday in support of the president Jair Bolsonaro who is against the lockdown imposed by local authorities. Bolsonaro recently referred to the coronavirus as “just a little cold”.
Wilson Bellini, a self-employed artwork frame-builder, took part in the protests in Espirito Santo.
He said: “I am 65 years old and my wife suffered a cerebral vascular accident.
“We are forbidden to work and with no resources.”
Wilson is helping his wife’s recovery whilst using savings and eating stocked food. Their two children live far away and are unable to offer financial support.
Andre Feiges, a solicitor from Curitiba, used a megaphone to counter the “pro-work” protest from his flat window and called protesters “ignorant”.
He said: “They should explain to their grandparents, the people who used to change their diapers, that they are not worth even one month without an income.
“There is a narrative based off of ‘mortality rate’ and ‘risk group’ as if those who are part of such groups (the elderly) were single-use items with no value to society.”
The protests appear to be organised through Facebook groups, none of which responded to our requests for an interview.
Celia Consalter, a retired teacher who filmed the protests from her window, said: “Look, I understand their situation.
“Maybe, if I were in their position, I would be doing the same, but I don’t think this is the moment.
“What we are seeing is a mirror of what is going on in Europe and we have to do our part, otherwise, soon we will be worse than Italy.”
More protests are set to occur in the coming weeks and lorry drivers across the country are threatening to protest if their local authorities do not allow them to go back to work.