Censorship in the Olympic Games – Juliana Bastos, Brazil


A fan holds a sign that reads “Temer out!” in portuguese. Source: hojeemdia.com.br

This year, the 2016 Olympic Games were held in Brazil, and many Brazilians who disagreed with the current government of interim president, Michel Temer, saw the perfect opportunity for peaceful protest. With the “Fora Temer” (“Temer out”) campaign, these protesters aimed to show their discontentment with Temer’s rule. However, they soon realized that their efforts to express themselves were for naught.

A law passed in May stated that political protests of any kind during the Games were forbidden. This law caused some activists to be forced to leave the stadiums. On August 6th, at the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies, a man was unwillingly ousted by the National Force to leave the arena for allegedly screaming “Fora, Temer!”. Later, 12 Brazilians, including an 82-year-old woman and a child, were kicked out of the stadium during a match between the USA and France for wearing shirts that formed the feared phrase and handing out papers with the message “Come Back Democracy”.


Fans holding signs that read “Come Back Democracy” before a football match.

According to research led by Confederação Nacional da Indústria (the National Confederation of Industry or the CNI) in July, the government of Michel Temer is supported by only 13% of the population. His indirect election through the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff caused protests on large scale in the country. The aggressive reactions toward peaceful activists, during the Games, contribute to the already negative way Brazilians perceive their current government.

Surprisingly, in spite of the censorship, the protesters have found creative ways to express their thoughts. With signs saying “Fora vocês sabem quem” (“Out you know who”), signs in Japanese and even different signs that, when united, form the words “Temer out!”, Brazilians have  showed that they are willing fight for their freedom of expression.

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