Saturday, March 19, 2011
Less than 48 hours before U.S. President Barack Obama & family arrive in Brazil, a Molotov cocktail was launched in front of the U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro late Friday in protest of his arrival, this according to the newspaper O Globo.
Military police reacted by firing rubber bullets into the gathering of 200 carrying American flags that said “Go Home Obama” at around 18:30 local time. A CBN news reporter suffered a minor injury from the shots and traffic was blocked.
According to protestor Thiago Hastenheiter, “They came after us with clubs and tear gas and attacked. They chased us through the streets and started firing rounds of rubber bullets.”
Police major Fabio Alessandro of the 13th Batallion of Rio’s military police said that the protestors, all left leaning social movements associated with the Socialist Workers Party, PSTU, did not have a permit to protest near the consulate along Avenida Rio Branco and had refused to disperse from the area. Most of the protests had been peaceful until two home-made Molotov cocktails were thrown in the direction of the Consulate. A guard at the Consulate was partially burned and was sent to the emergency room at Souza Aguiar Hospital.
Watch video of the protest HERE.
The Socialist Workers Party, or PSTU, plan addition anti-Obama protests in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte cities around 19:00 local time. More were planned for Saturday morning in the nation’s capital, Brasilia, and a final protest was being organized by PSTU adherents for Sunday morning.
Anti-Obama sentiment is linked to concerns of a possible U.S. attack on Libya despite a cease fire call by Qaddafi and concerns that Obama wants Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvafrom to sell Brazil’s newfound oil to America. One of the world’s largest deep sea oil discoveries was made by Brazilian oil company Petrobras in the so called Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin off the coast of Rio back in November of 2007.
The U.S. is interested in importing oil from Petrobras, and Obama has said as much. But the U.S. has no powers over Petrobras, which is owned by the Brazilian government and is committed to servicing Brazilian oil needs first.