March 22, 2003

Brazilian protesters toss eclairs at U.S. consulate

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) --More than 2,000 anti-war protesters on Friday marched to
the U.S. Consulate, where they burned American flags and tossed balloons filled with
pink paint.

The protesters also threw chocolate eclairs at the consulate, shouting "Let's
bombard the consulate!" In Portuguese, chocolate eclairs are called "bombas
de chocolate," which translates as "chocolate bombs."

The consulate closed at 11 a.m., shortly before the protesters arrived and
began their raucous demonstration. Some of the paint-filled balloons found their
mark on a guard house outside the consulate, but none hit the building itself.

Later in the afternoon, a handful of demonsrators also gathered in front of the
U.S. consulate in Rio de Janeiro in a smaller demonstration.

"As a Brazilian I am worried that one day (U.S. President George W.) Bush
will want something in Brazil," said Rafael Goncalves a 22-year-old graphic
designer as he stood in frnt of the consulate in Rio. "He has already proved that
he does not need a reason to take it."

In Sao Paulo, protesters chanting slogans spiced with obscenities against Bush
gathered outside the building a listened to speakers standing atop a huge sound

The speakers who denounced the U.S.-led war against Iraq included members
of Brazil's Landless Farm Workers Movement, the National Student's Union
the Brazilian Bar Association, and the country's Workers Party.

Some protesters carried signs depicting Bush as Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, while
others said "Down with Imperialism" and "Bush OUT" and "Iraq's Oil Belongs
to the Iraqis."

Martin Soares, a 20-year-old college student, said the protest was not intended
as support for Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

"We are here to protest the war unleashed by Bush, who thinks God has given
him the right to use force to globalize American imperialism," Soares said.

While protesters aimed their frustration at symbols of America, many said they
did not harbor ill will against Americans.

"We are not against the American people, many of whom have taken to the
streets like us to protest this war -- but against the Bush government," Beatriz
Fernandes, a 22-year-old college student. "We cannot accept innocent people
dying for oil."

Since war broke out, extra security measures have been put in place at
Brazilian airports and tourist destinations, but there have been no reports of any

An intelligence team was sent to the Brazilian part of the so-called tri-border
region of the country next to Paraguay and Argentina, said federal police
spokeswoman Ana Carolina Albuquerque Cavalcante.

The region, considered a haven for arms traffickers, smugglers and
counterfeiters, is a porous area where passport checks are rare. Home to about
20,000 Lebanese Muslims, it has been described by the State Department as a
"focal point for Islamic extremism in Latin America."

Cavalcante declined to provide details on the work being conducted by the
intelligence team.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press.