The modern and neat image the Brazilian state wished to present last summer for the World Cup was severely undermined by the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of people, who claimed the streets and rebelled in all major cities where games were held. Unable to crush these demonstrations with their police bullies, the “leftist” government of Brazil resorted to its judiciary apparatus, making preventive arrests of dozens of activists of mass organizations in a series of raids coordinated the eve of the final game on July 12.
Twenty-three people were then charged for their alleged involvement in organizations that advocate for people’s rights in Brazil—in addition to the hundreds of others who were arrested in the protests themselves. A large movement then started to demand their freedom, which exposed the false “democracy” of the Brazilian state.
Among those arrested was Comrade Igor Mendes da Silva, an activist from the Popular and Revolutionary Student Movement (MEPR) at Rio de Janeiro’s State University also involved with the People’s Independent Front (FIP-RJ)—a militant umbrella organization that seeks to unify the various movements, groups, organizations and individuals who have been at the forefront of popular mobilizations.
First arrested during the July 12 raid, Igor Mendes was again arrested on December 3 under a warrant issued by a judge of the Criminal Court. The state accuses him of having attended a cultural festival in support of political prisoners held on October 15, thus breaking his conditions of release, which required non-participation in a “gathering liable to disturb peace.” His arrest came while he was campaigning for the Executive of the Student Union at his university. Two months later, at the time of going to press, Igor was still being held at the Bangu prison.
In a statement released after his arrest, the MEPR condemned the “illegitimate state government” of the PMDB that was largely defeated by the numbers of invalid votes and abstentions in the last elections. The right-wing party is supported by the “leftist” president Dilma Rousseff and by the big bourgeois media, which stigmatize the grassroots activists. “Mired neck-deep in corruption and fearing the popular rebellion that thunders as the economic crisis worsens, the current witch hunt prepares a fascist and even larger police crackdown,” says the MEPR.
The student organization rejects “these attempts to isolate and criminalize popular protests, the MEPR and other independent activists and organizations that make up the FIP-RJ,” and demands immediate freedom and the abandonment of the charges against all activists who are facing repression for defending the people’s right to rebel.
The Partisan calls its readers and supporters—especially student activists and organizations—to support the political prisoners in Brazil and take action to publicly expose the Brazilian state.