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Demonstrators in Sao paulo call for better protection of Amazonia, which is undergoing terrible fires on 23 August 2019. REUTERS / Nacho Doce

The Brazilian president spoke in a speech on television on Friday night. He decided to send the army to fight forest fires and illegal deforestation, emergency management of the crisis while several regions have declared themselves on alert.

By decree, the far-right president has authorized from Saturday and for a period of one month the governors of the states concerned to use the army for " identification and fight against fire ", as well as for " preventive and repressive actions against environmental crimes ".

" As a soldier and a public man, I respect and deeply love the Amazon ," said the Brazilian president in a televised address. The protection of the forest is our duty. And that is why we must fight deforestation and all other criminal activity that puts our Amazon at risk. "

Jair Bolsonaro authorized " the establishment of a law and order guarantee operation: an environmental military operation ". An operation " with the extensive use of personnel and equipment of the army, and other security organs, to combat illegal activities, and the advance of fires in the region, " he warned.

Bolsonaro responds to pressures

The Brazilian president has also responded to criticism from around the world and warned the G7 countries that this does not justify economic sanctions against Brazilian exports.

" We will take action to control fires in the Amazon. But you have to stay calm. Several developed countries have not respected their commitments under the Paris Agreement. But other countries have expressed solidarity with Brazil, offered ways to fight fires, and they said they were ready to represent the Brazilian position at the G7. Forest fires exist all over the world. This can not be used as a pretext for possible international sanctions. Brazil will continue to be, as it has done until today, a friendly country for all, and responsible for the protection of its Amazon rainforest. "


With cries of "Save the Amazon", demonstrations gathered several thousand people in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, others took place in front of the embassies and consulates of Brazil in the world, at the call of many NGOs . Among them is the movement of young Swedish Greta Thunberg, Fridays for Future.

In the "lung of the planet" , about 700 new fires were recorded in 24 hours Thursday, according to figures released Friday by the National Institute of Space Research (INPE).