September 23, 2001

Poll: Brazilians opposed to U.S. military action

SAO PAULO, Brazil (Reuters) --More than three quarters of Brazilians are
opposed to a U.S. military attack on Afghanistan and more than half believe
their country, the world's fourth-largest democracy, should remain neutral in
the conflict, according to a poll published Sunday.

Seventy-nine percent of Brazilians are against the United States attacking the country
that harbors those responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States,
according to the Datafolha poll published in the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper.

But almost just as many, 74 percent, believe the United States should find, detain and
judge those responsible for the hijack strikes that may have left more than 6,000
dead or missing.

The United States has identified Saudi exile Osama bin Laden as the chief suspect
behind the attacks on New York and Washington and has accused Afghanistan's
Taliban government of harboring him. It has deployed military ships and aircraft to
the region.

Brazil -- Latin America's biggest country and largest economy -- has pledged its
support for the United States although there is no plan to involve Brazilian troops in
the conflict.

But 53 percent of those polled thought Brazil should remain neutral.

Up to 8,000 people gathered at Sao Paulo's Ibirapuera Park on Sunday morning in
solidarity with the American people and to call for peace, local media said.

Brazilian diplomats have long taken pride in their ability to keep Brazil out of any
international conflicts. It has not been involved in any war since World War II other
than to send troops to United Nations' peace-keeping missions.

    Copyright 2001 Reuters