On past May Brazil revived situations that reminded the period of the Military Dictatorship, when freedom of expression was suspended, social movements were violently repressed and protesters were considered criminals and punished by law. These events reveal the country still has a long way to go to consolidate itself as an effectively democratic nation.
The Marijuana March that was expected to happen in 14 cities was forbidden in Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, João Pessoa, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo and Santos. In these cities hundreds of people attended the manifestation, many not knowing the March had being prohibited. More than 50 protesters were arrested and charged with “crime apology”, including some who were victims of police violence.
The event took place only in Recife, Porto Alegre, Vitória and Florianópolis, where thousands of people manifested peacefully and the announced “apologetic behavior” did not come about. Still today some activists are being investigated in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, accused with practicing “crime apology”, including researchers that are know nationally and internationally, such as Sergio Vidal and Edward MacRae. Both are at risk of being criminally charged with “inducing, stimulating or motivating drug abuse”, article 33 of the new drug law that was passed on August 2006.
The independent media has registered some situations that may help to put together the absurd scenery of those facts:
Brasília – DF
Rio de Janeiro