Graves dug in Rio beach to protest handling of COVID-19 pandemic

Graves dug in Rio beach to protest handling of COVID-19 pandemic
epaselect epa08479374 Aerial photograph taken with a drone that shows activists as they place one hundred and ten crosses, as a way of denouncing the errors made by the Government in managing the coronavirus crisis, during a protest organized by the NGO Rio de Paz, on Copacabana beach , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 11 June 2020. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO LACERDA

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 11 (Reuters) - Brazilians critical of their government's ambiguous response to a surging coronavirus pandemic dug 100 graves and stuck black crosses in the sand of Rio's Copacabana beach on Thursday in a tribute to the nearly 40,000 people who have died so far.

The graves were dug overnight on the beach opposite the ritzy Copacabana Hotel in a protest mounted by non-governmental organization Rio de Paz.

Brazil has become a major epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, with 39,680 deaths and over 770,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, the world’s worst outbreak after the United States.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of the pandemic and pushed local governments to lift quarantine measures, sending contradictory signals to Brazilians on whether to use masks and practise social distancing.

“The president has not realized that this is one of the most dramatic crises in Brazil’s history,” said organizer Antonio Carlos Costa, who criticized Bolsonaro for not showing solidarity with the suffering.

“Families are mourning thousands of dead, and there is unemployment and hunger,” he said.

Not everyone agreed with the protest.

An angry man pulled out crosses, shouting against the symbolic tribute. Another man, who said his 25-year-old son died of COVID-19, went around replacing the fallen crosses.

“It’s such a tragedy,” said passer-by Marcia Lucia Dias. “It’s frightening to see the crosses. But this is really happening. Our authorities contradict themselves and we don’t know what to do.” (Reporting by Sergio Queiroz and Rodrigo Viga Gaier; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)


"Information pertaining to Covid-19, vaccines, how to control the spread of the virus and potential treatments is ever-changing. Under the South African Disaster Management Act Regulation 11(5)(c) it is prohibited to publish information through any medium with the intention to deceive people on government measures to address COVID-19. We are therefore disabling the comment section on this article in order to protect both the commenting member and ourselves from potential liability. Should you have additional information that you think we should know, please email [email protected]"

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

We would like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick...

…but we are not going to force you to. Over 10 million users come to us each month for the news. We have not put it behind a paywall because the truth should not be a luxury.

Instead we ask our readers who can afford to contribute, even a small amount each month, to do so.

If you appreciate it and want to see us keep going then please consider contributing whatever you can.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

As the school year starts again, thousands of children will not have the basics (like books) to learn from.

81% of children aged 10 cannot read for meaning in South Africa.

For every copy of MavericKids sold from the Daily Maverick shop, we will donate a copy to Gift of the Givers for learners in need. If you don't have a child in your life, you can donate both copies.

Small effort, big impact.