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Rio de Janeiro's annual Carnival is known for its unabashed, over-the-top parades and performances, but this year’s iteration, which wrapped up on Wednesday, March 6, had a notably more political tone. Revelers and samba schools took advantage of one of Brazil’s biggest nights to deliver a rebuke to President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been vocal in his attacks on women, minorities and the LGBT community.

The festival, the first since the right-wing Bolsonaro took office earlier this year, featured several parades that offered up pointed critiques of Bolsonaro’s government. The traditional samba school Mangueria won the Carnival parade contest with its tribute to Marielle Franco, a councilwoman who was killed last March. A human rights activist who championed the gay and black communities, Franco was also known for her criticisms of police brutality and inequality in Rio de Janeiro. She and her driver, Anderson Gomes, were fatally shot while returning from an event, and her death sparked outrage and protests across the country.

The parade featured Franco’s face set against green and pink, the Mangueria school’s colors, as well as those of other Brazilian “unsung heroes.” For many, the tribute served as a challenge to Bolsonaro, who has said that he would prefer having a dead son to a gay one, and whose family allegedly has ties to a paramilitary group suspected in Franco’s killing.


The original article can be found here: https://observers.france24.com/en/20190308-brazil-carnival-take-aim-bolsonaro-politics

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