Spreading like wildfire: Protesters demonstrate outside Brazilian embassies over Amazon

Thousands of protesters have turned up outside Brazilian embassies throughout the world today to demand President Jair Bolsonaro does more to end the fires that are ravaging the Amazon.

Demonstrators gathered outside consulates and blocked off roads, shouting slogans and holding placards, in London, Geneva, Paris, Madrid, Milan and Berlin, amid the worst fires on record.

The demonstrations come as Europe’s leaders rounded on Bolsonaro today for his environmental policies, with French President Emmanuel Macron accusing the Brazilian leader of lying at the G20 Summit in Osaka in June.

Anti-Bolsonaro protesters chanted outside the Brazilian Embassy in Paris carrying placards with messages such as ‘Bolsonaro Out!’ (‘Fora Bolsonaro’).

Meanwhile, the Extinction Rebellion group, renowned for recent action in London, gathered outside the consulate in the British capital calling on Bolsonaro to protect the Amazon rainforest.

The dispute between Bolsonaro and Macron erupted last night over Twitter, with Macron claiming an urgent meeting of the G7 was required and Bolsonaro lashing Macron for his ‘colonialist mindset.’ 

Bolsonaro was further backed into a corner today as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said they would not back an EU free trade deal with the South American Mercosur bloc until Bolsonaro brought the infernos under control.  

Scroll down for video. 

LONDON: A protester holds a placard echoing Emmanuel Macron's tweet, 'Our House Is On Fire', outside the Brazilian Embassy in London today

LONDON: A protester holds a placard echoing Emmanuel Macron's tweet, 'Our House Is On Fire', outside the Brazilian Embassy in London today

LONDON: A protester holds a placard echoing Emmanuel Macron’s tweet, ‘Our House Is On Fire’, outside the Brazilian Embassy in London today

BERLIN: A protester wearing Amazonian headdress holds a placard calling an 'SOS', as European leaders rounded on Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro today

BERLIN: A protester wearing Amazonian headdress holds a placard calling an 'SOS', as European leaders rounded on Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro today

BERLIN: A protester wearing Amazonian headdress holds a placard calling an ‘SOS’, as European leaders rounded on Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro today

MILAN: Protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the rainforest fires crisis Amazon rainforest fires protest outside the Brazilian Consulate in Milan, Italy, today

MILAN: Protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the rainforest fires crisis Amazon rainforest fires protest outside the Brazilian Consulate in Milan, Italy, today

MILAN: Protest against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his handling of the rainforest fires crisis Amazon rainforest fires protest outside the Brazilian Consulate in Milan, Italy, today

Extinction Rebellion activists descended on the Brazilian Embassy in London today as European leaders rallied around the conservationist cause

Extinction Rebellion activists descended on the Brazilian Embassy in London today as European leaders rallied around the conservationist cause

Extinction Rebellion activists descended on the Brazilian Embassy in London today as European leaders rallied around the conservationist cause

ZURICH: Protesters gather to rally against climate change in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as European leaders voiced their concerns over what they regard as an international emergency

ZURICH: Protesters gather to rally against climate change in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as European leaders voiced their concerns over what they regard as an international emergency

ZURICH: Protesters gather to rally against climate change in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as European leaders voiced their concerns over what they regard as an international emergency

Protesters with placards gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London today

Protesters with placards gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London today

Protesters with placards gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London today

French President Emmanuel Macron called for an urgent meeting of the G7 in France this weekend and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro accused him of sensationalism (Macron and Bolsonaro attend the G20 in Osaka earlier this month)

French President Emmanuel Macron called for an urgent meeting of the G7 in France this weekend and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro accused him of sensationalism (Macron and Bolsonaro attend the G20 in Osaka earlier this month)

French President Emmanuel Macron called for an urgent meeting of the G7 in France this weekend and Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro accused him of sensationalism (Macron and Bolsonaro attend the G20 in Osaka earlier this month)

A map showing every fire that's started across Brazil since August 13, 2019. Bolsonaro continues to downplay concerns and says it is normal for the dry-season

A map showing every fire that's started across Brazil since August 13, 2019. Bolsonaro continues to downplay concerns and says it is normal for the dry-season

A map showing every fire that’s started across Brazil since August 13, 2019. Bolsonaro continues to downplay concerns and says it is normal for the dry-season

MUMBAI: A protestor wears a mask highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai, India on Friday

MUMBAI: A protestor wears a mask highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai, India on Friday

MUMBAI: A protestor wears a mask highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai, India on Friday

Topless protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in Paris protest the wildfires raging across the Amazon today

Topless protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in Paris protest the wildfires raging across the Amazon today

Topless protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in Paris protest the wildfires raging across the Amazon today

Macron tweeted last night: ‘Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire.’ He accompanied the post with a stock photo of fires from February 2018.

Bolsonaro fired back his own tweet, saying: ‘I regret that Macron seeks to make personal political gains in an internal matter for Brazil and other Amazonian countries. The sensationalist tone he used does nothing to solve the problem …

‘The French President’s suggestion that Amazonian issues be discussed at the G7 without the participation of the countries of the region evokes a misplaced colonialist mindset in the 21st century.’   

A French presidential official said today: ‘Given the attitude of Brazil over the last weeks, the president can only conclude that President Bolsonaro lied to him at the Osaka summit.’ 

He explained that Bolsonaro’s policies showed he did not intend to respect obligations on climate change and also did not want to commit on concrete proposals.

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris today

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris today

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris today

Participants carry protest banners, during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday

Participants carry protest banners, during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday

Participants carry protest banners, during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday

A protester with a mask on joins a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday

A protester with a mask on joins a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday

A protester with a mask on joins a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday

Protesters with banners and placards block the street as they gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London

Protesters with banners and placards block the street as they gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London

Protesters with banners and placards block the street as they gather for a demonstration organised by climate change activists from Extinction Rebellion outside the Brazilian embassy in central London

Extinction Rebel: An activist proudly wearing a vegan shirt  demonstrates outside the Brazilian embassy in London today

Extinction Rebel: An activist proudly wearing a vegan shirt  demonstrates outside the Brazilian embassy in London today

Extinction Rebel: An activist proudly wearing a vegan shirt  demonstrates outside the Brazilian embassy in London today

A Milanese protester

A Milanese protester

A protester in Milan

A protester in Milan

A protester holding a ‘Stop Bolsonaro’ placard and another with a poster saying ‘Save the Trees’ outside the Brazilian embassy in Milan today

'Plant Based Food System': Protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday wave flags

'Plant Based Food System': Protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday wave flags

‘Plant Based Food System’: Protesters outside the Brazilian embassy in central London on Friday wave flags

‘Under these conditions, France will oppose the Mercosur (Free Trade Agreement with the EU) as it stands,’ the official added.

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Macron’s calls for an international meeting, saying the Amazon’s wildfires were an ‘acute emergency’ which belonged on the G7 agenda. 

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: ‘The fires ravaging the Amazon rainforest are not only heartbreaking, they are an international crisis. We stand ready to provide whatever help we can to bring them under control and help protect one of Earth’s greatest wonders.’ 

Amid the growing international pressure a Brazilian army general said the military stood ready to protect its rainforest.

‘To the unwary who insist on safeguarding the purposes of the Brazilian Amazon, make no mistake, soldiers will always be alert and vigilant, ready to defend and repel any kind of threat’, Edson Leal Pujol, head of the armed forces. said in a speech during a Soldier’s Day ceremony in Brasilia today.

ZURICH: Protesters sit on the road, blocking cars and trams from moving through the city today in protest of Bolsonaro's rainforest policy

ZURICH: Protesters sit on the road, blocking cars and trams from moving through the city today in protest of Bolsonaro's rainforest policy

ZURICH: Protesters sit on the road, blocking cars and trams from moving through the city today in protest of Bolsonaro’s rainforest policy

Protesters stream through central Zurich today in Switzerland in fury over the catastrophic fires in the Amazon

Protesters stream through central Zurich today in Switzerland in fury over the catastrophic fires in the Amazon

Protesters stream through central Zurich today in Switzerland in fury over the catastrophic fires in the Amazon

Protesters hold placards close to the Eiffel Tower in central Paris today after President Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying to him at June's G20 Summit in Osaka

Protesters hold placards close to the Eiffel Tower in central Paris today after President Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying to him at June's G20 Summit in Osaka

Protesters hold placards close to the Eiffel Tower in central Paris today after President Macron accused Bolsonaro of lying to him at June’s G20 Summit in Osaka

Protesters in Paris

Protesters in Paris

A protester outside the embassy in Paris

A protester outside the embassy in Paris

A protester in Paris implores Bolsonaro to ‘Save the TREES’, while another outside the embassy declares: ‘Amazonia Stays!!! Bolsonaro Leaves!!!’

Young children scrawl the Extinction Rebellion emblem across the street in central London today as thousands gathered to protests Bolsonaro across Europe

Young children scrawl the Extinction Rebellion emblem across the street in central London today as thousands gathered to protests Bolsonaro across Europe

Young children scrawl the Extinction Rebellion emblem across the street in central London today as thousands gathered to protests Bolsonaro across Europe

Protesters hold placards referencing Bolsonaro's pro-agribusiness policy in central London on Friday

Protesters hold placards referencing Bolsonaro's pro-agribusiness policy in central London on Friday

Protesters hold placards referencing Bolsonaro’s pro-agribusiness policy in central London on Friday

A woman holds an Extinction Rebellion placard in central London today

A woman holds an Extinction Rebellion placard in central London today

A woman holds a picture of a jaguar, native to the rainforest

A woman holds a picture of a jaguar, native to the rainforest

A woman holds an Extinction Rebellion placard in central London today (left) while another holds a picture of a jaguar, native to the rainforest (right)

Activists lie across the street outside the Brazilian embassy in Madrid on Friday to protest the wildfires raging in the Amazon

Activists lie across the street outside the Brazilian embassy in Madrid on Friday to protest the wildfires raging in the Amazon

Activists lie across the street outside the Brazilian embassy in Madrid on Friday to protest the wildfires raging in the Amazon

Protesters paint slogans in German in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as thousands turned out across the world to protest the Bolsonaro

Protesters paint slogans in German in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as thousands turned out across the world to protest the Bolsonaro

Protesters paint slogans in German in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday as thousands turned out across the world to protest the Bolsonaro

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced today Dublin would stand with Macron in blocking the EU trade deal with Mercosur unless Bolsonaro got a grip on the infernos.

‘There is no way that Ireland will vote for the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement if Brazil does not honour its environmental commitments,’ he said.  

Onyx Lorenzoni, the president’s chief of staff, accused European countries of exaggerating environmental problems in Brazil in order to disrupt its commercial interests on Thursday.

‘There is deforestation in Brazil, yes, but not at the rate and level that they say,’ said Lorenzoni, according to the Brazilian news website globo.com.

In the last eight days more than 9,500 fires have ripped through Brazil‘s dense rainforest and activists claim most of them will have been set by men working in the jungle, clearing land for cattle and logging.

Despite Bolsonaro’s claims that uncontrollable blazes are frequent during the ‘queimada’, the annual slash-and-burn, experts say an 84% increase on last year cannot be attributed to the dry season alone. 

Topless protesters in Paris today outside the Brazilian embassy, have 'Amazones Rebellion' pained across their backs

Topless protesters in Paris today outside the Brazilian embassy, have 'Amazones Rebellion' pained across their backs

Topless protesters in Paris today outside the Brazilian embassy, have ‘Amazones Rebellion’ pained across their backs

Extinction Rebellion activists, who have brought London to a standstill this summer, flocked to the streets again today to protest Bolsonaro

Extinction Rebellion activists, who have brought London to a standstill this summer, flocked to the streets again today to protest Bolsonaro

Extinction Rebellion activists, who have brought London to a standstill this summer, flocked to the streets again today to protest Bolsonaro

French activists descended on the Brazilian embassy in Paris today to take part in the pan-European protests

French activists descended on the Brazilian embassy in Paris today to take part in the pan-European protests

French activists descended on the Brazilian embassy in Paris today to take part in the pan-European protests

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris

French ecologist activists and environmental protection groups shout slogans against Brazilian President Bolsonaro, as they gather in a protest in front of the Brazilian embassy in Paris

Images from space show huge swathes of the forest have been turned brown by fires as they continue to rage in Nova Bandeirantes state, Brazil

Images from space show huge swathes of the forest have been turned brown by fires as they continue to rage in Nova Bandeirantes state, Brazil

Images from space show huge swathes of the forest have been turned brown by fires as they continue to rage in Nova Bandeirantes state, Brazil

Satellite images show colossal scorched sections of the Amazon forest in Brazil's Para state as smoke pours across the jungle on Tuesday

Satellite images show colossal scorched sections of the Amazon forest in Brazil's Para state as smoke pours across the jungle on Tuesday

Satellite images show colossal scorched sections of the Amazon forest in Brazil’s Para state as smoke pours across the jungle on Tuesday

Rio Branco Firemen tackle fires in the Amazon forest near Rio Branco, Amazonian State of Acre last Saturday

Rio Branco Firemen tackle fires in the Amazon forest near Rio Branco, Amazonian State of Acre last Saturday

Rio Branco Firemen tackle fires in the Amazon forest near Rio Branco, Amazonian State of Acre last Saturday

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Macron's calls for an international meeting, saying the Amazon's wildfires were an 'acute emergency' which belonged on the G7 agenda

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Macron's calls for an international meeting, saying the Amazon's wildfires were an 'acute emergency' which belonged on the G7 agenda

Today German Chancellor Angela Merkel backed Macron’s calls for an international meeting, saying the Amazon’s wildfires were an ‘acute emergency’ which belonged on the G7 agenda

Extinction Rebellion supporters protest outside the Brazilian Embassy on August 23, 2019 in London

Extinction Rebellion supporters protest outside the Brazilian Embassy on August 23, 2019 in London

Extinction Rebellion supporters protest outside the Brazilian Embassy on August 23, 2019 in London

A participant displays a placard during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon, in Zurich, Switzerland

A participant displays a placard during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon, in Zurich, Switzerland

A participant displays a placard during a demonstration for more climate protection and against deforestation in the Amazon, in Zurich, Switzerland

A protestor holds a poster highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai

A protestor holds a poster highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai

A protestor holds a poster highlighting environmental hazard, wildfires and deforestation of the Amazon outside the Brazilian embassy in Mumbai

Last week local media reported that a ‘fire day’ had been declared by farmers in Para as a direct response to Bolsonaro.

Brasil de Fato reported the organiser said: ‘We need to show the president that we want to work and the only way is to knock it down. And to form and clear our pastures, it is with fire.’ 

Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year, counting 74,155 as of Tuesday. Bolsonaro took office on New Year’s Day. 

The news comes as leaked documents purported to show Bolsonaro had plans to deliberately isolate indigenous people in the jungle and build hydroelectric plants which will devastate an area the size of Greater Manchester. 

One leaked Power Point slide says: ‘Development projects must be implemented on the Amazon basin to integrate it into the rest of the national territory in order to fight off international pressure for the implementation of the so-called ‘Triple A’ project.

Macron's tweet was accompanied by a stock image of the rainforest which can be traced to an article from February 2018

Macron's tweet was accompanied by a stock image of the rainforest which can be traced to an article from February 2018

Macron’s tweet was accompanied by a stock image of the rainforest which can be traced to an article from February 2018

A map showing the emissions hot-spots detected by the World Meteorological Agency over Brazil and the rest of South America on Thursday

A map showing the emissions hot-spots detected by the World Meteorological Agency over Brazil and the rest of South America on Thursday

A map showing the emissions hot-spots detected by the World Meteorological Agency over Brazil and the rest of South America on Thursday

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe walk in a deforested area in nondemarcated indigenous land inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe walk in a deforested area in nondemarcated indigenous land inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe walk in a deforested area in nondemarcated indigenous land inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Huge clouds of smoke can be seen drifting from the northern Brazilian states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia down through its borders with Bolivia, Chile and Peru as the fires which have raged since the beginning of the year continue

Huge clouds of smoke can be seen drifting from the northern Brazilian states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia down through its borders with Bolivia, Chile and Peru as the fires which have raged since the beginning of the year continue

Huge clouds of smoke can be seen drifting from the northern Brazilian states of Amazonas, Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia down through its borders with Bolivia, Chile and Peru as the fires which have raged since the beginning of the year continue

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Saturday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Saturday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Saturday

A logger takes stock in the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State (loggers and ranchers have been accused of devastating the jungle in an unprecedented way)

A logger takes stock in the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State (loggers and ranchers have been accused of devastating the jungle in an unprecedented way)

A logger takes stock in the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State (loggers and ranchers have been accused of devastating the jungle in an unprecedented way)

‘To do this, it is necessary to build the Trombetas River hydroelectric plant, the Óbidos bridge over the Amazon River, and the implementation of the BR-163 highway to the border with Suriname.’ 

Several NGOs back the Triple A (Andes-Amazon-Atlantic) project, which aims to restore and maintain the ecosystem which flourishes around the Amazon rainforest.

The leaked documents claim that Brazil is being put under threat by globalist forces which would seek to encourage indigenous people to rise up against the government.

His administration announced on Wednesday it would forge ahead with plans for two new hydroelectric dams which will cause flooding across vast swathes of the rainforest.

In a list of new projects was the Bem Querer plant in Roraima and the Tabajara plant in Rondonia. Neither of the projects has environmental licensing, and the Bem Querer proposal also poses risks to indigenous lands.

They would cause the destruction and flooding of 152,711 acres of rainforest, according to Estadao, around the same size as Greater Manchester.

A colossal deforested tract of the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State on Thursday (critics accuse Bolsonaro of enabling vast destruction)

A colossal deforested tract of the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State on Thursday (critics accuse Bolsonaro of enabling vast destruction)

A colossal deforested tract of the jungle near Humaita, Amazonas State on Thursday (critics accuse Bolsonaro of enabling vast destruction)

Smoke spews from the top of the high jungle trees in the Amazon on Wednesday amid a recent spate of fires which have caused international concern

Smoke spews from the top of the high jungle trees in the Amazon on Wednesday amid a recent spate of fires which have caused international concern

Smoke spews from the top of the high jungle trees in the Amazon on Wednesday amid a recent spate of fires which have caused international concern

Smoke ascends through the canopy of the rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke ascends through the canopy of the rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke ascends through the canopy of the rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State earlier this month

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State earlier this month

Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State earlier this month

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe shows a deforested area in unmarked indigenous lands inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe shows a deforested area in unmarked indigenous lands inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Indigenous people from the Mura tribe shows a deforested area in unmarked indigenous lands inside the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Amazonas State on Tuesday

Bolsonaro’s spat with Macron comes after Germany and Norway, citing Brazil’s apparent lack of commitment to fighting deforestation, decided to withhold more than $60 million in funds earmarked for sustainability projects in Brazilian forests.

The debate came as Brazilian federal experts reported a record number of wildfires across the country this year, up 84 percent over the same period in 2018.

Satellite images show smoke from the Amazon reaching across the Latin American continent to the Atlantic coast and Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tweeted: ‘In the midst of the global climate crisis, we cannot afford more damage to a major source of oxygen and biodiversity. The Amazon must be protected.’

Federal prosecutors in Brazil’s Amazon region launched investigations of increasing deforestation, according to local media. Prosecutors said they plan to probe possible negligence by the national government in the enforcement of environmental codes.

Raging fires tear through the rainforest in streams of burning light last Saturday night amid the worst fires since records began. Macron claims it is an international emergency

Raging fires tear through the rainforest in streams of burning light last Saturday night amid the worst fires since records began. Macron claims it is an international emergency

Raging fires tear through the rainforest in streams of burning light last Saturday night amid the worst fires since records began. Macron claims it is an international emergency

Smoke streams above the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke streams above the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke streams above the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke pours up from the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke pours up from the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Smoke pours up from the burning forest near Porto Velho, Rondonia State on Wednesday

Bolivia is also struggling to contain big fires, many believed to have been set by farmers clearing land for cultivation.

Bolsonaro said there was a ‘very strong’ indication that some non-governmental groups could be setting blazes in retaliation for losing state funds under his administration. He did not provide any evidence.

Bolsonaro, who won election last year, also accused media organizations of exploiting the fires to undermine his government.

‘Most of the media wants Brazil to end up like Venezuela,’ he said, referring to political and economic turbulence in the neighboring South American country.

London-based Amnesty International blamed the Brazilian government for the fires, which have escalated international concern over the vast rainforest that is a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The rights group this year documented illegal land invasions and arson attacks near indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Rondonia state, where many fires are raging, said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty’s secretary general.

‘Instead of spreading outrageous lies or denying the scale of deforestation taking place, we urge the president to take immediate action to halt the progress of these fires,’ Naidoo said.

The WWF conservation group also challenged Bolsonaro’s allegations about NGOs, saying they divert ‘the focus of attention from what really matters: the well-being of nature and the people of the Amazon.’

Brazil contains about 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, whose degradation could have severe consequences for global climate and rainfall. Bolsonaro, who has said he wants to convert land for cattle pastures and soybean farms, won office after channeling outrage over the corruption scandals of the former government. 

An tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state on Tuesday

An tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state on Tuesday

An tract of Amazon jungle burning as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Iranduba, Amazonas state on Tuesday

Flames are seen along the BR364 highway in Guajara-Mirim, Rondonia

Flames are seen along the BR364 highway in Guajara-Mirim, Rondonia

Flames are seen along the BR364 highway in Guajara-Mirim, Rondonia

Flames are seen along the BR364 highway in Guajara-Mirim, Rondonia

Flames are seen along the BR364 highway in Guajara-Mirim, Rondonia, northern Brazil last Wednesday

A tract of Amazon jungle burns as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Novo Airao, Amazonas state, Brazil on Wednesday

A tract of Amazon jungle burns as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Novo Airao, Amazonas state, Brazil on Wednesday

A tract of Amazon jungle burns as it is being cleared by loggers and farmers in Novo Airao, Amazonas state, Brazil on Wednesday

Filipe Martins, an adviser to Bolsonaro, said on Twitter that the Brazilian government is committed to fighting illegal deforestation and that many other countries are causing environmental damage.

The Amazon will be saved by Brazil and not ‘the empty, hysterical and misleading rhetoric of the mainstream media, transnational bureaucrats and NGOs,’ Martins said.

Sergio Bergman, Argentina’s environment minister, appealed for people to overcome political or ideological divisions to protect the environment. He spoke at a five-day U.N. workshop on climate change in Brazil’s northern state of Bahia.

‘We all, in a way, understand that it is not possible to keep using natural resources without limits,’ Bergman said. 

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