Brazil: protests greet Ahmadinejad at start of South American tour

Protests greeted Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Brazil at the start of a South American tour Nov. 23. On Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema beach, thousands of demonstrators from groups representing gays, artists, Christians, Jews, and Holocaust survivors carried protest banners and a giant cage containing white balloons as a symbol of Iran’s “repressed values.” Large protests were also held in Sao Paulo. Opposition politicians also criticized the visit. “One thing is a diplomatic relationship with dictatorships, another is to welcome their leaders in your home,” Jose Serra, the Sao Paulo state governor, wrote in a newspaper opinion.

Ahmadinejad and Lula are expected to sign accords on biotechnology, energy and farming, and may discuss co-operation on building nuclear plants. The Iranian president is due to address Brazil’s congress and speak to university students before heading on to Bolivia and Venezuela. (The Guardian, Nov. 23)

See our last posts on Iran and Tehran’s Latin America strategy.

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  1. Peres protested in Latin America too
    A week and a half before the anti-Ahmadinejad protests, pro-Palestinian activists gathered outside an event where Israeli President Shimon Peres was speaking in Sao Paolo. Signs showed Peres with a Hitler mustache beside the Israeli flag with a swastika drawn on it and the text “Shimon Hitler.” Other signs showed charred children’s bodies, presumably from last winter’s Gaza assault. (YNet, Nov. 12) Days later, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the square opposite the parliament building in Buenos Aires to protest Peres’ visit to Argentina. (Press TV, Nov. 17)

    We’d like to know if there were any faces common to both the anti-Ahmadinejad and anti-Peres protests.

    We’d also like to know if there were any protests against Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas during his visit to Argentina earlier this week. (AFP, Nov. 21)