Attacks against universities in Brazil

from our Brazilian correspondents

The preparation of the elections in Brazil was the occasion for a series of attacks against the university community affecting all categories of teachers, researchers, students, technical and administrative staff. The newly elected presidential candidate, promoter of xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, elitist and authoritarian ideas, had asked his supporters to denounce all those who expressed opposing opinions.

On October 25, election court officials, federal police and armed military police, at the request of judges or informants, invaded public universities across the country to interrogate, intimidate and seize equipment, as well as to order the removal of hanging banners bearing sentences against fascism. The prerogative used by the judges is that all this “could constitute campaign material for candidate Fernando Haddad”. Among the materials in question were a “Manifesto in defence of democracy and the Public University”, signed by the teachers’ union, as well as the memory disk of of the trade union press secretariat.

The incriminated manifesto defended the following principles: public and free university; university autonomy; the rights of education workers; freedom of teaching and research; career development; stability of civil servants; student assistance, housing and free and universal catering; democratization of access to and permanence of higher education, life, diversity and human dignity; democracy and freedoms.

Classrooms were invaded by people claiming to be “election officers” to “check” that teachers were not speaking politically. During a journalism class, a student called the police who invaded the room to arrest the teacher because he had mentioned “fake news”. In another university, a history course on fascism was banned by a judge’s warrant. So far, activities have been interrupted, equipment seized, reports by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, others have received visits from the police. Such incidents have occurred in the following public universities: UFRRJ, UFPB, UERJ, UFU, UFAM, UCP, UCP, UniRio, UEPB, UFMG, UFG, UFG, UNEB, UCP, UFMS, UFRJ, UFERSA, Unilab, UFF, Unifei, UFBA, UFCG, UFMT, UENF, UEPA, UFGD, UESP Bauru, UFSJ, UFRGS, UFFS, IFB.

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