RIO DE JANEIRO – Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's call to commemorate the anniversary of Brazil's 1964 military coup is causing discomfort in Latin America's largest nation, with social groups organizing protests and the federal prosecutors' office saying the call "deserves social and political repudiation."
Bolsonaro, a former army captain who waxes nostalgic for the 1964-1985 dictatorship, on Monday asked Brazil's Defense Ministry to organize "due commemorations" on March 31, the day historians say marks the coup that began the country's military regime.
The reaction was immediate. Federal prosecutors said that under international criminal law Brazil's dictators "had committed crimes against humanity." In a long and strongly worded statement, prosecutors said Bolsonaro's initiative sounded like an "apology for the practice of atrocities."
Several civil groups announced they were organizing protests throughout the country.