When Klinger Duarte Rodrigues left for his coronavirus vaccine last weekend, he had him dressed as a South American snake.
” A jusHe said, using the native name of the Amazonian water boa whose skin he borrowed for his first dose of AstraZeneca.
The outfit – the images of which immediately went viral on social media – was not just a fashion statement: it was a protest against the Brazilian government’s dismal handling of a Covid outbreak that has killed more than 545 000 citizens, including Rodrigues’ brother-in-law.
“If the government had been faster in acquiring vaccines, many people would still be with us,” said environmentalist and internet influencer who attached a sign to his snake costume calling for the impeachment of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro .
Rodrigues’ protest wasn’t the only documented act of reptilian resistance as the Brazilians headed for their punches – and the explanation for their choice of clothing is the president himself.
Last year, Bolsonaro, who disrupted vaccination efforts by purchasing insufficient vaccines and refusing to get one himself, sarcastically claimed that Pfizer’s shot could turn recipients into alligators. In response to this notorious remark, pro-science opponents, furious at Bolsonaro’s denialist conduct, were vaccinated wearing different types of reptiles.
Most come as alligator: the scaly alligator native to the Amazon, a region that has been the subject of increasing attacks by loggers and illegal miners since Bolsonaro came to power in 2019.
“My costume was a way of expressing my horror,” said Leila Fernandes, a 60-year-old educator from the city of Fortaleza whose crocodilian suit was designed to reflect her fury at Bolsonaro’s “obnoxious” management of the Covid epidemic, sabotage of containment measures and promotion of ineffective remedies.
“I lost my mother-in-law, my niece’s husband and several close friends. You will be hard pressed to find a family that has not lost a loved one, ”Fernandes said. “We can’t forget what this president did… So many Brazilians were buried who could have escaped death but died because of the president’s impositions. “
Rodrigues, who lives in the Amazon city of Manaus, said he decided to go further and turn into an anaconda. “It is a traditionally Amazonian animal [and] it represents medicine and science, ”said the 29-year-old whose TikTok video of his vaccination has been viewed over 6.4 million times.
Rodrigues lost his 37-year-old brother-in-law, a composer called Rafael Marupiara, to Covid earlier this year when Manaus suffered a devastating health collapse that saw patients choke to death after hospitals ran out of supplies. oxygen.
“The atmosphere here was so heavy, there was so much pain and sadness… The streets were deserted. Everyone was locked inside for fear of what might happen, ”he recalls of this deadly crisis.
Six months later, Rodrigues, who declined to reveal the costume he would wear for his second dose in October, hoped his outfit would bring a much-needed touch of joy and convince hesitant Brazilians to get the shot. “The best way out of this pandemic is the vaccine. “