Published On: Sun, Aug 25th, 2019

Amazon fires satellite images: The fires from space as Bolsonaro enjoys comedy club night | World | News

Jair Bolsonaro, 64, Brazil’s far-right president, is facing an unprecedented crisis. Not only is the Amazon rainforest succumbing to widespread fires, but international outrage over the situation is increasing rapidly. This weekend, hundreds of thousands of protestors took to the streets in Brazil and abroad to protest the president’s deforestation policies.

While Brazilians demonstrated and the jungle burned, it emerged the president was enjoying a night out at the comedy.

While he was at the club, a pre-recorded speech aired to the nation explaining how he planned to use the army to fight the fires.

He simultaneously insisted the rate of forest burning was nothing out of the ordinary, despite Brazil’s space research centre, INPE, publishing data showing an 83 percent increase in fires for 2019 over the same period of 2018.

READ MORE: How to help Amazon Rainforest as Brazil burns

Bolsonaro said forest fires “exist in the whole world” and “cannot serve as a pretext for possible international sanctions”.

While the speech was broadcast on television on Friday night, Bolsonaro was at a standup show in Brazil by right-wing Christian comic Jonathan Nemer.

Brazil’s UOL news website calculated that Bolsonaro and his wife were at the show at the same time the broadcast aired.

The comedian posted a picture of himself with the president and first lady Michelle before the show on his Instagram.

READ MORE: Amazon forest fires: ‘Unprecedented’ army operation tackle blaze

In a video post, Nemer wrote: “Standup in Brasília is always a success, always full, but today we have the presence of someone very special … Bolsonaro!”

The video then saw him lead the Bolsonaro support chant of “legend, legend”.

Blame for the destruction of the Amazon is largely being placed at the foot of the president.

Deforestation has rapidly accelerated during the first eight months of his rule, thanks to his policies weakening the environment agency, undermining conservation NGOs and promoting the opening of the Amazon to mining, farming and logging.

READ MORE: Amazon rainforest fire: Merkel and Macron plotting censored

At a press conference on Saturday, Bolsonaro’s defence minister, Fernando Azevedo e Silva, and environment minister, Ricardo Salles, explained how the army would fight the fires, stressing how important it was for Amazon states to cooperate.

The fires have been started deliberately, with illegal land-grabbers destroying trees so they can raise the value of the property they seize.

Bolsonaro has scorned environmental activists and declared staunch support for the clearing of areas of the Amazon for agriculture and mining.

Experts and campaigners say his administration has given a green light to rainforest destruction.

Meanwhile, at the G7 summit in Biarritz, the French president Emmanuel Macron called for the international community to help Brazil and its neighbours fight the fires.

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