Orchestra Occupies Government Building in Protest of Brazil’s Interim President

Read more

As an orchestra played German composer Carl Off’s “Carmina Burana,” a crowd of at least a thousand surrounded them and sang “Fora Temer (Get Out Temer),” a rallying cry against interim Brazilian President Michel Temer and his government. On May 12, Brazil’s Senate voted to begin impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff. As she stands trial on charges that she broke budgetary laws to hide deficits, Rousseff will step down for at least the next six months, according to CNN.

Related: Director and Stars of ‘Aquarius’ Protest Brazilian Politics During Red Carpet at Cannes

In the meantime, Vice President Temer will serve as interim president. In just one week, he has dissolved the Ministry of Culture and assembled an all-male, all-white cabinet. In response, a group of activists, musicians, and artists occupied Palácio Capanema, a government building in Rio de Janeiro, on May 17 to object the impeachment and the conservative shift, with many condemning it as a “soft coup.” “The end of a Ministry of Culture represents an end of one of society’s pillars,” said artist and storyteller Fátima Verônica to AJ+. “It is a direct attack on this society.”

The Ministry of Justice absorbed the Ministry of Women, Racial Equality and Human Rights, which is seen as further proof that those who aren’t white, straight, cis-gender men are not a priority. The orchestra’s protest is not an isolated incident; there’s a growing social movement against Temer. At the Cannes Film Festival, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho and the cast and crew of Aquarius staged a protest on the red carpet. With signs that read “54,301,118 votes on fire,” “Chauvinists, racists, and scammers as ministers,” and “The world cannot accept this illegitimate government,” they denounced Temer and Brazil’s current political situation as the world watched on.

Across 12 states, creatives have taken over 18 government buildings. Some of Brazil’s famous artists are putting on performances, according to Global Voices. On May 25, another orchestra concert will take place at the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo. Check out the May 17 performance below: