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Religious organizations hold event on resistance on the 60th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil

On April 5th, a public event will take place at Cinelândia, in the center of Rio, which will remember religious resistance during the 60th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil (March 31, 1964). The event, open to the public, is promoted by eleven non-governmental organizations and collectives.

The program will include a gathering with a symbolic act, on the steps of the City Council Chamber (Praça Floriano, Centro), at 5:30 pm, followed by a walk to the Sessions Room of the Federal Justice Cultural Center (CCJF, headquarters of the former Federal Supreme Court, when the city was the country's capital), where the debates will be held at 7pm.

On the occasion, the resistance of religious groups and leaders to the dictatorship that lasted 21 years, among Christians, Catholics and evangelicals, traditions of African and indigenous origins, will be remembered. The meeting will also be an opportunity to emphasize that this resistance remains active, in the face of the repressive and persecutory practices that survive among State institutions.

The organizing groups, with the support of churches, collectives and parliamentary mandates with religious identity, produced the following manifesto letter, which is open to receive support from individuals and other organizations and collectives, through this link.

Violence and abuse of power, never again!
Religious resistance in the 60th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil

Sixty years ago, Brazil suffered a profound civil-military coup, which resulted in a dictatorial regime, which resulted in a dictatorial regime with various forms of violence against critics and opponents. Arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, torture, disappearances, executions, murders, censorship, among other violations carried out over 21 years, whose drastic implications persist to this day.

The 1964 military coup had the support of powerful economic and media groups, national and foreign, and support from obscurantist segments of society, including sectors of churches and other religions. This is a memory that cannot be erased, lest it be forgotten, lest it ever happen again!

For this reason we come together in this articulation of organizations, collectives, movements and popular parliamentary mandates, with religious identity. The aim is to dialogue with society about the memories of the Dictatorship and its violations of rights, as well as the harmful implications still present. Furthermore, considering our profile and experience, highlight the place of churches and religions in general in resisting violence and abuses of power.

It is also of fundamental importance to think about the relationship between the military dictatorship and structural issues of violence that continue and are reproduced even today, resulting from the repressive processes of the time. In this sense, we also consider it necessary and opportune to dialogue with young people, both those in churches and in society as a whole, to share the experiences of previous decades, listen and learn together to discern the signs and demands that the current situation presents to us.

With this initiative, we wish to contribute to the strengthening of democracy, especially bearing in mind the instabilities experienced in the country since 2016, with the coup that deposed a democratically established government, subsequently worsened with the rise of the extreme right to power in the Republic.

To this end, it is also important to expand reflections on the relationships between religion and politics, which are justified given the prominent place of religions in Brazilian social dynamics and the struggles against religious and political fundamentalism and neoconservatism.

As we know, the Brazilian government, in the disastrous period from 2019 to 2022, explicitly promoted the forgetting of the crimes of the military dictatorship and the falsified review of the country's history. It was hoped to hide never-healed and increasingly throbbing wounds – related to the crimes of the State of exception such as torture, disappearances and murders – and to lessen the place and protagonism of social movements and democratic sectors and their historical achievements in favor of democracy in its broad meaning.

Regrettably, significant sectors of Brazilian churches played a role in this process of erasing history and reinforcing obscurantism and cultures of violence and hatred. And the most serious thing: these groups use religion to promote exclusionary, abusive and discriminatory practices and relativize serious situations such as torture, dissemination of hatred and the elimination of political opponents.

However, there is also a significant movement of groups from the most varied religious branches, including evangelical Christians and Catholics, who, touched by their faith, take a stand for justice, peace and the guarantee of rights and democracy.

We understand that it is extremely important to provide institutions and movements that fight for human rights and the population in general with spaces for reflection and action that can illuminate the near future.
Considering the above, that the democratic segments of Brazilian society, with which we identify and want to join forces, can in this relevant opportunity:

  • Critically mark, during this 2024, the 60th anniversary of the military coup in Brazil with actions and reflections on violence and disrespect for human rights, which has not ended, especially for poor, black and peripheral populations.
  • Bring together and articulate democratic sectors, leaders and social groups, committed to defending human rights and citizenship, to think and build forms of action against authoritarianism, which reinforce rights and democracy in Brazil, including in religious spaces.
  • Enable the formation and revival of the memory of victims and resisters of churches, religions as a whole and other social sectors, about the acts of exception and violation of rights perpetrated during the 21 years of military dictatorship in the country.
  • Disseminate, promote and value the report of the National Truth Commission, presented in 2014, in particular the recommendations it offers for public policies on historical reparation and educational actions for civil society.
  • Socialize a set of memories, mainly for new generations, including social and ecclesiastical movements, and take stock of what the violent marks of the 1964 military coup mean for the current context. This, in particular, for groups that live in vulnerable situations such as traditional peoples, women, the black population and subordinated groups, and thus build paths for the maintenance and strengthening of democracy in our country.

We want to remember the past, inspire the present and project a democratic future, here and now, with justice and peace.

Sign this manifesto:
Organizations, churches and collectives
Galilee House
Hope Collective
Memory and Utopia Collective
Seeds of Democracy Collective
Baptist Community of São Gonçalo
Anglican Diocese of Rio de Janeiro
Scream Baixada Forum
Front of Evangelicals for the Rule of Law
Caminho Baptist Church
Carioca Christian Church
Tijuca Christian Church
Institute of Religious Studies – ISER
Iser Assessoria
Koinonia – Ecumenical Presence and Service
Youth and Liberating Spirituality Movement
West Zone Interreligious Movement
Black Evangelical Movement
Our Brazilian Church
New Evangelical Narratives
Parliamentary mandates:
Benedita da Silva (federal deputy)
Chico Alencar (federal deputy)
Marina from MST (state deputy)
Pastor Henrique Vieira (federal deputy)
Reimont (federal deputy)
William Siri (councilman, Rio de Janeiro)

Anyone who agrees with the above statement can sign in support hereby link.
Find out more here
Contacts about the event: Magali Cunha – magali.ncunha@gmail.com // (21)965666652