The Brazilian Supreme Court ruled this week that pro-marijuana legalization rallies can be held as an exercise of free expression. The Brazilian High Court came to their decision after riot police fired tear gas upon an estimated crowd of 1,000 people attending the Marijuana March in Sao Paulo on May 21.
The Livelink.com footage of the rally reveals that the riot police treated the otherwise peaceful protest as akin to the hockey riots that broke out Wednesday night in Vancouver. The Brazilian protestors were subject to indiscriminately hurled teargas and the cops physically roughed up some demonstrators. Other protestors even claimed they were shot with rubber bullets. Six protestors in all were arrested, but released later in the day. (See footage here: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=98a_1306293432).
The riot police’s over-the-top reaction came after a lower Brazilian court previously prohibited the Marijuana March from taking place, which did not deter the thousand or so pot activists from taking their message to the financial center of Sao Paulo. The Supreme Court made it clear that their ruling only applies to rallies and does not legalize the actual use of marijuana. For cannabis activists in Brazil, it’s a chance to openly and safely advocate cannabis freedom at future rallies where the only concern is getting pot smoke in your eyes, not tear gas.