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The president of Brazil declared war on Carnaval, after South America’s biggest street party made him a laughing stock

Beatrice Christofaro , Business Insider US
 Mar 06, 2019, 04:03 PM
brazil
Jair Bolsonaro (Gretty Images)
  • Brazil's far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, seems to be trying to discredit Carnaval, the country's biggest annual street party.
  • On Tuesday he tweeted an explicit video to "show the truth" about Carnaval parties.
  • It came as hundreds of Carnaval goers protested against Bolsonaro and wore costumes mocking a corruption scandal in his political party.
  • People started referring to the video as a "golden shower," to which Bolsonaro responded: "What is a golden shower?"
  • Critics say he is trying to depict the explicit scene as a common occurrence to discredit carnival protests against him.

Brazil's far-right president appears to be trying to discredit Carnaval, Brazil's biggest street party, after people staged massive protests to mock him there.

Jair Bolsonaro tweeted a sexually explicit video of Carnaval goers on Tuesday night in an attempt to tarnish its reputation. It shows three people dancing on top of a roof, while one man urinates on another man's head.

During Carnaval - the Portuguese word for "carnival" - Brazil comes to a standstill as locals attend samba schools' spectacular parades, or dress up in costumes to party on the street. This year's Carnaval took place from February 28 from March 5.

Bolsonaro said that he feels uncomfortable sharing the images, but that he has to "expose the truth so the people are aware of their priorities."

"This is what Brazilian carnival street parties have turned into," he said.

Brazilians hit out against Bolsonaro's tweet on Twitter, referring to the video as a "golden shower" and saying that the video is not representative of Carnaval and threatened to report the post to Twitter.

Bolsonaro tweeted in response to the criticism on Wednesday, saying: "What is a golden shower?"

Brazilian TV presenter Astrid Fontenelle tweeted: "I saw so many beautiful things this carnival. Then I see this on Twitter from the president of our republic who many children follow?"

People who actually witnessed the scene in Bolsonaro's video also told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo that though Carnaval festivities are sometimes marked by alcohol-fueled escapades, what happened in the video was an isolated incident.

Bolsonaro's critics also accused him of depicting the scene in the video as a common occurrence to delegitimize anti-government protests that have occurred during street parties around the country.

The video below, which came in response to Bolsonaro's tweet, shows a crowd protesting against the president.

Many Carnaval goers this year also dressed up to mock ongoing money-laundering accusations against Bolsonaro.

Earlier this year authorities flagged payments from what was marked as Bolsonaro's driver to the president's wife and son's bank accounts, raising suspicions that the driver is a "ghost worker" - someone doing a fake job to get money from the government.

"Ghost workers" are often referred to as oranges in Brazil, leading many Carnaval goers to dress up as the fruit this year.

Some people also changed traditional samba lyrics to mock Bolsonaro.

Folha de S. Paulo reported that one street party played: "I am not mistaken. Bolsonaro is part of the militia," referencing accusations that the president is connected to the country's paramilitary groups.

Bolsonaro has also faced criticism around the country over his offensive comments about women, black people, and the LGBT community.

He previously told a congresswoman that she was too ugly to be raped, and that he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.

Regardless, he garnered widespread support for promising to end violence and corruption, which allowed him to win the presidential elections in a landslide last October.

Despite Bolsonaro's criticisms of the street parties, many Brazilians praised this carnival season, highlighting the parades by professional samba schools.

This year's performances dazzled the audience with messages about black and indigenous history. The winner of the world famous Rio parades will be announced on Wednesday.

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