Rallies in defense of democracy and the electoral process gathered political leaders, intellectuals, investors, trade union representatives, and artists in a number of cities across Brazil on Thursday (Aug 11). During the demonstrations, the Letter in Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law was read out loud.

At the University of São Paulo (USP) Law School, a crowd watched the reading as well as speeches on a big screen outside the building. Also read was the Manifesto in Defense of Democracy, published last week in national newspapers, put together by São Paulo Industry Federation FIESP, signed by over a hundred entities.

Leitura da Carta às Brasileiras e Brasileiros em Defesa do Estado Democrático de Direito, na Faculdade de Direito da USP. Leitura da Carta às Brasileiras e Brasileiros em Defesa do Estado Democrático de Direito, na Faculdade de Direito da USP.

Reading of the Letter to Brazilians in Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law, at the USP Law School – Rovena Rosa / Agência Brasil

“We are here to defend the electoral law, the electoral courts, and the electoral system with the voting machines, to advocate that the will of the Brazilian people be respected and that it be sovereign,” said USP Dean Carlos Gilberto Carlotti Junior, at the opening of the event at the Law School’s noble hall.

Lawyer Oscar Vilhena Vieira, member of the Arns Commission and the commission that idealized the manifesto, underscored that the mobilization has no ties to political parties. “This is not a partisan manifesto, but rather a solemn moment in which the main entities of Brazilian society come to celebrate the greatest commitment to democracy,” he pointed out.

“Any project or coordinated movement for democracy in the country requires the unwavering and concrete commitment to confront racism,” added Beatriz Lourenço do Nascimento, member of the Black Coalition for Rights.

Leitura da Carta às Brasileiras e Brasileiros em Defesa do Estado Democrático de Direito, na Faculdade de Direito da USP Leitura da Carta às Brasileiras e Brasileiros em Defesa do Estado Democrático de Direito, na Faculdade de Direito da USP

Reading of the Letter to Brazilians in Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law, at the USP Law School – Rovena Rosa / Agência Brasil

The Letter

Next, participants read the Letter to Brazilians in Defense of the Democratic Rule of Law, prepared by USP, which has garnered upwards of 920 thousand signatures online. The reading took place at the Pátio das Arcadas, inside the college building.

“In today’s Brazil there is no more room for authoritarian setbacks. Dictatorship and torture belong to the past. The solution to the immense challenges facing Brazilian society requires respect for the outcome of the elections,” the document reads. The text was inspired by the Letter to Brazilians, read in 1977 at the same place, when the country was still under the military regime.

The text also reiterates the development of the current democratic regime founded on the Federal Constitution of 1988. “Under the 1988 Federal Constitution, which is about to celebrate its 34th anniversary, we have held free and periodic elections, in which the political debate about the projects for the country has always been democratic, with the final decision being left to popular sovereignty,” the text says.

The letter also mentions challenges in building a deeper democracy in the country: “We live in a country of profound social inequalities, with a lack of such essential public services as health care, education, housing, and public security. We have a long way to go in the development of our economic potential in a sustainable way. The state is inefficient in the face of its innumerable challenges. Demands for greater respect and equality of conditions in matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation are still far from being fully met.”

On the streets

Also in São Paulo, thousands of demonstrators gathered on Paulista Avenue holding flags and banners symbolizing students’ movements and political parties.

Pro-democracy demonstrations were also held in other cities of the country, like Brasília and Rio de Janeiro, where a large march with students and members of trade unions and social organizations was staged on the streets downtown. Another march went down Brasília’s Esplanade of Ministries, near the National Congress buildings.

* Agência Brasil Vladimir Platonow contributed to this article.

* With information from Reuters.

Source: Agência Brasil