'Grim Reaper' Walks German Streets in Protest of Brazil's 'Deadly Health Policies'

A man dressed as the "grim reaper" walks through German streets in protest of Brazil's "deadly health policies."

According to the Associated Press, Rafael Puetter, is an artist originally from Rio de Janeiro, but has been living in Berlin for the past five years and has continued to protest his home nation's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"My performance starts at the Brazilian Embassy in Berlin at midnight every night. I dress myself as…death," Puetter according to the Associated Press. "I think the president is promoting deadly health policies and I think death's the symbol of this government in many ways."

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has continued to downplay the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country and has remained in opposition of lockdowns to mitigate the spread of the novel virus.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro responded to critics who suggested he was genocidal after the nation reported 4,000 new COVID-19 deaths in one day.

"They called me homophobic, racist, fascist, a torturer and now.… What is it now? Now I am…someone who kills a lot of people? Genocidal. Now, I'm genocidal," Bolsonaro said outside the Presidential Palace in Brazil on Tuesday, according to CNN.

While speaking to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Miguel Lago, executive director of Brazil's Institute for Health Policy Studies, said, "The fact is the anti-lockdown narrative of President Jair Bolsonaro has won."

"Mayors and governors are politically prohibited from beefing up social distancing policies because they know supporters of the president, including business leaders, will sabotage it," Lago added.

Puetter's protest on Wednesday night came shortly after Brazil reported 4,000 COVID-19 deaths over a 24-hour span.

Grim Reaper
A protester dressed as the Grim Reaper marches during a demonstration of the event industry, in crisis because of the corona pandemic in front of the TV tower in Berlin, on September 9, 2020. Odd Andersen/Getty

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

That made Brazil the third nation to cross the threshold. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has long downplayed the risks of the coronavirus and remains fully against lockdowns as too damaging to the economy.

According to the Associated Press after protesting outside of the embassy, Puetter then walks to the Brandenburg Gate and the nearby German parliament, in front of which he counts out one sunflower seed to represent each of the people who have died in Brazil over the previous 24 hours and puts them into a glass. He aims eventually to plant the seeds as a memorial.

"I wanted to create a clear image of what's going on in Brazil," said Puetter, who wore a black hood and cape with the words "SOS Brasil" on the back, a skull mask and a sash in Brazil's green-and-yellow colors.

Brazil has confirmed more than 13.1 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began and nearly 337,000 deaths, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In both cases, that is the second-highest total behind the United States.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the surge in deaths in Brazil compared to other nations and the EU.

Brazil COVID deaths - Statista
Statista

Update 4/8/21: This article was updated to include an infographic.