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Afp

European demos held over Amazon fires

By AFP
media Protesters with placards gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on August 23, 2019 calling on Brazil to act to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation and fire. Climate change activists demonstrated outside the Brazilian embassy in London on August 23, urging President Jair Bolsonaro to halt the fires in the Amazon rainforest. Protests were also planned for other European cities. Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of the year -- the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon. AFP

Climate change activists chanting slogans and waving banners demonstrated boisterously outside Brazil's embassy in London on Friday, urging President Jair Bolsonaro to do more to halt the fires in the Amazon rainforest.

Several hundred protesters gathered opposite the central London embassy, unfurling signs reading "stop destruction now", "save our planet" and "I want you to panic".

They chanted "climate justice" and "save the Amazon".

English teacher Luisa Brown, 36, told AFP: "We want to do something to stand in solidarity with people of Brazil.

"Also, we have children and would like for them to grow up in a world which has its lungs."

Protests over the Amazon fires were also planned for other European cities.

Official figures show nearly 73,000 forest fires were recorded in Brazil in the first eight months of this year -- the highest number for any year since 2013. Most were in the Amazon.

The data comes as Bolsonaro, who took office on January 1, faces growing criticism over his anti-environment rhetoric, which activists blame for emboldening loggers, miners and farmers in the Amazon.

The extent of the area damaged by fires has yet to be determined.

- Outrage and grief -

"We gather in outrage, in grief and in despair," the Extinction Rebellion (ER) group said in calling the London protest.

"The Amazon is literally on fire and every inch that continues to burn takes us further away from any hope of sustaining life on this Earth.

"We cannot sit in silence while life on Earth is being destroyed."

They called on governments to put pressure on Bolsonaro to act to help stop the fires.

Charity sector worker Lucy Brown, 41, a regular climate protester, brought her two young children with her.

"I'm very concerned about climate change but specially about the impact of the animal agriculture in the Amazon," the ER member said.

Demonstrations were also planned Friday outside the Brazilian embassies in Berlin and Madrid, the consulate in Barcelona, and in Turin, northern Italy.

A three-hour protest is planned in Lisbon on Monday, where demonstrators were set to gather in front of the Brazilian embassy under the slogan "Rebel for the Amazon".

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