The members of the Semiarid Against Hunger Caravan Tour visited on Monday the rural and urban activists who are staging a hunger strike in Brasília, Brazil's capital, for over a week. During a political rally that gathered members of the two protests, they announced a new addition to the hunger strike. The sit-in is being staged to denounce Brazils current social problems and demand that the Supreme Court reviews their ruling on allowing defendants to start serving a sentence after their conviction while their case is still pending appeal.
The caravan tour started on July 27th and drove nearly 2,500 miles, stopping in the cities of Caetés, Feira de Santana, Belo Horizonte, São Paulo, and Curitiba, before arriving in Brasília.
Cristina Nascimento, from the Brazilian Semiarid Articulation (ASA) and one of the coordinators of the tour, points out that, in addition to visiting the hunger strikers, they also spoke on Monday with Dom Friar Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, secretary general of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Brazil.
“We’ve been handing out a special Brasil de Fato edition that reports that more than 12 million people are back on the hunger map. People relate to this issue. We were very welcomed by D. Leonardo, who made a commitment to take this debate to the [Catholic] Church, to be with us so that the Supreme Court sees us,” she said.
The members of the caravan handed out the special Brasil de Fato edition papers at the Brasília bus station on Monday afternoon. Alexandre Pires, also from the ASA, said people have showed great solidarity with the issue in the cities the caravan tour visited.
“We see that people rarely oppose or have some kind of repulsion to it. Brazilians are supportive, at least in the cities we’ve visited. This is a sign that the uprising of the working class for their rights and against the coup and setbacks is something possible,” he said.
During the political rally that gathered members of the caravan tour and the hunger strike, Rafaela Alves, a hunger striker, highlighted the role of the people from the semiarid region of Brazil in the struggle and resistance against social setbacks, as well as the convergence between the two initiatives.
“For us, who are staging a hunger strike, we are just taking on different tasks. You are conducting a caravan tour across our country. The people in the semiarid knows hunger very well. And for a moment there, they overcame it. We are so glad to have you here. The dreams you bring and express in this caravan are also our dreams,” she said.
Student Leonardo Soares, a member of the Youth Uprising [Levante da Juventude], was announced during the rally as the seventh member to join the hunger strike. He joined the other strikers on Monday.
Edited by: Juca Guimarães | Translated by Aline Scátola