Because "getting angry on social media is not enough" to put a stop to the fires and profit-driven policies ravaging the Amazon rainforest, thousands of people across six continents mobilized on Thursday to protest the destruction of the "lungs of the world" at the hands of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and large multinational corporations.
"From Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia to San Francisco and Hong Kong, people across generations, backgrounds, and borders are expressing their outrage over the destructive fires and their solidarity with the determined efforts of indigenous peoples to defend the forest and our collective wellbeing," said Christian Poirier, program director at Amazon Watch, which coordinated the global actions alongside the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and Extinction Rebellion.
The demonstrations, which spanned more than 20 countries, came as thousands of fires continued to devastate the Amazon rainforest. Many of the blazes were deliberately and illegally set by farmers, loggers, and ranchers who, according to critics, have been emboldened by Bolsonaro's aggressive support for deforestation, which was accelerated rapidly during his time in office.
"Thousands of people around the world are mobilizing alongside Brazil's resistance to the Bolsonaro regime," said Poirier.
Frente a la Corte Constitucional de #ecuador para exigir el respeto de los derechos de los #PueblosIndígenas y de la #naturaleza.#ActForAmazonia #AmazonasEnLlamas #Sept5Act4Amazonia @WaoResistencia @confeniae1 @AmazonWatch pic.twitter.com/pgUkadWQeN
— Chevron Tóxico (@Chevron_Toxico) September 5, 2019
— AucklandPeaceAction (@AKPeaceAction) September 4, 2019
The industrial extraction that many governments of the Amazon region pursue negatively affects indigenous communities across the Amazon Basin, and indigenous communities in Ecuador are marching to demand respect for their rights AND sending support to indigenous people of Brazil. pic.twitter.com/WCo7HmWLIq
— AMAZON WATCH (@AmazonWatch) September 5, 2019
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Demonstrators held a "die-in" outside the London offices of Blackrock, which a recent report described as the "world's largest investor in deforestation."
— XR Southwark (@XRSouthwark) September 5, 2019
Outside the White House, protesters held signs that condemned U.S. President Donald Trump, Bolsonaro, and big business as "Amazon fire-starters."
— Alex Segura (@_alexsegura_) September 5, 2019
Sônia Guajajara, executive coordinator at APIB, said to "address the scale of Amazon destruction we are witnessing," people "must get organized, get active, and join forces in defense of the Amazon and in defense of our future."
"We need to stop this absurdity," said Guajajara.