Thousands gathered in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday to protest against the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to celebrate 55th anniversary of the 1964 military coup.

People sat on the steps outside the Theatro Municipal in the Cinelandia area of the city waving banners and signs critical of the dictatorship and Bolsonaro.

Maria Aparecida, a banker, was critical of the president’s attitude towards the country’s dark past. “[The military dictatorship] was a time when many people died and there is great violence against the people of Brazil, acquaintances, loved ones were tortured, hurt, the press was silent, social and popular movements were banned.”

Bolsonaro, a former army captain, has frequently praised military rule under which hundreds of people were killed or forcibly disappeared, as well as arbitrary detentions and cases of torture.

On March 31 1964, a military coup led by General Humberto Castelo Branco overthrew the government of Joao Goulart and installed a dictatorship that lasted 21 years.

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