In Photos: Protests at Brazilian embassies worldwide as Amazon rainforest fires sizzle

As outrage grows online and overseas, environmental activists are taking to the streets to protest what they say is inaction by the Brazilian president on raging wildfires in the Amazon rainforest.

The world’s largest rainforest has seen an 84 per cent increase in wildfires year-over-year, according to the National Institute of Space Research.

With more than 74,000 burning so far, it has made for the highest number recorded since records began in 2013.

While they can sometimes occur naturally, scientists say the wildfires, in this case, were set deliberately.

Cattle farmers are chipping away at the forest, illegally clearing the way for ranching and causing widening deforestation.

Environmentalists blame President Jair Bolsonaro for bolstering the farmers’ neglect of the rainforest. The pro-business president has vowed to grow Brazil’s economy by finding other uses for the Amazon and activists believe his rhetoric has only emboldened farmers to cut away at more land for their own purposes.

The anger has spread as quickly as the fires — from online advocacy, criticism from international leaders and celebrity support. Now, the protest has set its sights on Brazilian embassies around the world.

On Friday, outside the Brazilian embassy in Paris, hundreds of climate activists staged a demonstration.

Youth for Climate demonstrators attend a protest outside the Brazil’s embassy in Paris due the wildfires at Amazon rainforest, France, August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

They held signs that read “Pray for Amazonia,” “Amazonia stays!!! Bolsonaro leaves!!!” and “Sans foret c’est foutu,” which translates to “without forests we’re doomed.”

Some protesters marched partially nude, covered in fake blood, with the words “farmers guilty” written in black lettering across their chests.

Climate activists attend a protest outside the Brazil’s embassy in Paris due the wildfires at Amazon rainforest, France, August 23, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The protesters are calling on the Brazilian president to do more to halt the fires.

French President Emmanuel Macron and U.N. Secretary General António Guterres expressed concerns about wildfires that are raging in the Amazon one day earlier. Macron and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau both see the situation as an “international crisis.”

Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly stood in the face of criticism surrounding the fires and his environmental policies, responded angrily to what he regarded as meddling.

The dispute between Bolsonaro and Macron worsened on Friday, when Macron’s office said Bolsonaro was lying when Bolsnaro played down concerns about climate change at the G20 summit in Japan in June.

A similar protest took place in Bern, Switzerland on Friday.

Protesters gathered in the streets holding photographs of the fires in Brazil. Several held signs that said “Boycott Brazil.”

People protest in Bern, Switzerland, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019 against the burning down of the Amazonas rainforest and the politic of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion said protesters were also gathering at the Brazilian embassy in London calling on Bolsonaro to protect the Amazon rainforest.

 

Extinction Rebellion activists protest outside the Brazilian Embassy in London, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019, to call on Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro to act to protect the Amazon rainforest. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

In Nicosia, Cyprus, protesters wore gas masks and staged a sit-in outside the Brazillian Embassy there.

Protesters with banners block the road outside of the Brazilian Embassy during a protest in Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The fires

Brazil has approximately 60 per cent of the Amazon, which stretches 670 million hectares in total, but it is also shared with places like Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Bolsonaro has said his government will implement measures to quell the fires, but it’s not clear what those measures may be.

On Friday, the head of Brazil’s armed forces said the Brazilian army is ready to “defend and repel any kind of threat” to the rainforest.”

Concrete measures are said to be a topic of discussion at the annual G7 summit in France this week. 

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State, Brazil, Brazil August 17, 2019. Picture Taken August 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State, Brazil, Brazil August 14, 2019. Picture Taken August 14, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A tract of the Amazon jungle burns as it is cleared in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

An aerial view of a deforested plot of the Amazon near Humaita, Amazonas State, Brazil August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A satellite image shows smoke rising from Amazon rainforest fires in the State of Rondonia, just southwest of Porto Velho, Brazil in the upper Amazon River basin on August 15, 2019. Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil, Brazil August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

A tract of Amazon jungle burns as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Novo Airao, Amazonas state, Brazil August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly

A man works in a burning tract of Amazon jungle as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state, Brazil August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Bruno Kelly/File Photo

— With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

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