Brazilians Say No to Disarmament

    The number of Brazilians who favor prohibiting weapons sales in the country plummeted from 73.6% in March, 2004, to 48% this month. The index of those opposed to the ban rose from 23.4% to 48.8%. This is what is indicated in the 74th CNT/Sensus survey, released yesterday, February 22.

    In the opinion of the president of the National Confederation of Transport (CNT), Clésio Andrade, the finding demonstrates a loss of confidence on the part of the population in disarmament as a solution to violence.


    “This demonstrates that people are beginning to lose some of their confidence in disarmament, since violence has continued on the rise. People begin to worry about self-protection. From the moment you perceive that the state is not responding, you begin to want to have your own personal alternatives,” he said.


    The survey covered two thousand people in 24 states in the five Brazilian regions during the period February 15-17. The margin of error is 3%.


    A few months ago, the Brazilian government was celebrating the results of its disarmament campaign whose target was to collect 80,000 weapons by the end of 2004.


    But the response had been much greater than expected and Brazilian Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, reported in October that the country’s Disarmament Campaign had already collected 120,000 weapons. “We have raised our sights and now think we can collect 200,000 by December,” said the minister.


    Bastos went to the state of Paraná, South region, to launch a Disarmament Campaign Caravan that would travel around the country. Paraná kicked off the caravan because it was the first state to officially join the disarmament campaign at the beginning of the year. The state collected 20,000 weapons in six months.


    The objective of the caravan, it was said, was to make people aware of the importance of turning in weapons to the police. Bastos reported at the time that churches, radio stations and health centers would also be receiving weapons because some people were afraid of going to the police.


    Translation: David Silberstein
    Agência Brasil

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