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Brazil says it needs new laws because the upcoming World Cup event could be a target for terrorists. But human rights advocates say the legislation could be used to arrest legal protesters
The language, lawyers say, is way too vague and might give security forces "unprecedented powers" to use against demonstrators, who already have a history overstepping their powers and a very poor record of dealing with public unrest.
The legislation, as it's now worded, could make the situation even worse, adds Amnesty International, putting "freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly" at further risk. And some activists say the proposed revisions won't make any difference, that Brazil just wants to stifle all protests.
Because of South America's abuses of such laws in the past, Brazil doesn't presently have any anti-terrorism legislation, which is all the more reason it should be just as vigilant now about protecting its democracy as it is about protecting the country from terrorism.
Tell Brazil, don't treat World Cup protesters as terrorists!
We, the undersigned, say Brazil should be more vigilant about protecting its democracy and citizens' rights to peaceful assembly.
Naturally the country feels the need to beef up security for such a high-profile international event as the World Cup tournament. However based on reports of serious human rights violations occurring already, this event should not be used to give abusive officers even more opportunity to violate human rights or to confuse legal demonstrations with terrorist acts.
With South America's history and the proposed bill's threat of 15 to 30 years in prison, this is no time to be vague about what constitutes a terrorist act or who decides.
We request that, along with rewording of the proposed bill, Brazil take extra caution to protect the right to legal, peaceful demonstration.
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