Brazilians Face Discrimination and Online Harrasment in Europe due to Covid Variant

Residents describe offensive comments on the street and on social media


Brazil's uncontrolled pandemic and concern over the variants identified in the country are leading Brazilians living in Europe to experience discrimination and offensive comments online. They have been accused of spreading Covid-19 across the continent.

In France, which last Tuesday (13) temporarily suspended flights to and from Brazil due to the health situation, social media networks are full of publications, videos and memes that take offense to Brazilians. Many are tagged with the hashtag #VariantBresilien (Brazilian variant).

The posts are particularly aimed at Brazilians, and are full of mentions of prostitution, promiscuity and thong bikinis. There are also jokes about the accent and appearance of women.

With the country on lockdown, aggressions are mainly online, but they are not restricted to the virtual universe.

French policemen control the travel certificates of passengers arriving at the Mulhouse main train station, on April 9, 2021. (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP) - AFP

Brazilians in Portugal, where direct flights with Brazil were suspended between January 29 and last Friday (16), also have reported episodes of discrimination.

In social networks and in reports on the situation of the pandemic in Brazil, there are many accusations that the Brazilians will bring Covid-19 to the country.

The association of the virus variants with the place where they were initially identified is criticized by the WHO (World Health Organization), which sees a risk precisely in the increase of stigma in relation to the places associated with the strains of Sars-CoV-2.

"There should be no stigma associated with detecting these viruses, but unfortunately we still see this happening," said Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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