Bolsonaro Cancels New York Gala Trip as Sponsors Withdraw


Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday cancelled plans to attend a New York gala in his honor after several companies withdrew their sponsorship and thousands of people demanded it be scrapped.

The gala, organized by the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce for May 14, had attracted widespread criticism over the far-right president's record, with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio describing Bolsonaro as "a dangerous man".

Bolsonaro decided to cancel the trip due to "resistance and deliberate attacks by the Mayor of New York and the pressure of interest groups" on organisers, a spokesman said in a statement.

The event had been due to be held at the New York Museum of Natural History, before it pulled out of hosting.

It was moved to the Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square, where protesters have been gathering every night outside seeking the complete cancellation of the event.

On Friday, US airline Delta, British daily Financial Times and consulting firm Bain & Company all confirmed to AFP that they would not sponsor the dinner as planned.

Bolsonaro was to receive a Person of the Year award at the event.

Every year, the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce awards the prize to a Brazilian and an American at a gala dinner, with famous guests on hand. The event -- which costs $30,000 a plate -- was sold out.

Elected late October with an ultraconservative agenda, Bolsonaro has been widely criticized for his environmental policy.

Since taking office in January, he has reduced or eliminated funding for indigenous protection organizations. 

He also placed them under the responsibility of the Minister of Agriculture, Tereza Cristina Dias, who is close to the massive agribusiness industry, which is accused of aggravating deforestation.