It is a misleading post that claims that the PT sent Brazilians to Italy to participate in a protest pretending to be members of the MST. The post uses a video of a demonstration against President Jair Bolsonaro in the city of Padua and refers to the Landless Rural Workers Movement and the fact that the police dispersed the act after confrontation.
The demonstration actually took place. According to the Italian agency Ansa, about 500 people took part in the act, which was repressed by the police, who used water jets and tear gas canisters. However, as verified by the Comprova Project, the PT did not send Brazilians to the site.
According to Antonio Pio Lancellotti, director of the Global Project, a multimedia platform that brings together activists from around the world, “the demonstration was organized by social centers in Italy and there was no entourage sent by Lula’s party.” Lancelloti also participated in the protest and said that “the vast majority of the protesters were Italians.”
Sought after, the PT and the MST stated that they did not send protesters to Italy to promote any type of protest against Bolsonaro. “We also inform you that in Europe and other parts of the world there are committees of friends of the MST that are organically articulated in defense of democracy and popular agrarian reform in Brazil”, stated the press office of the social movement.
Misleading, for Comprova, is all content taken from the original context and used in another so that its meaning is altered; that uses inaccurate data or that leads to an interpretation different from the author’s intention; content that confuses, with or without the deliberate intent to cause harm.
Scope of publication
Comprova investigates the most far-reaching suspicious content on social networks. Until June 29, the video posted on Facebook had 14,600 interactions, with 12,000 views, 2,000 likes and 643 comments. The same content has been shared dozens of times on Twitter, which indicates an organized action.
what does the author say
“It was a mistake in the text”, said Major Ricardo Silva, author of the publication, which was published in an organized manner, with dozens of profiles posting at the same time. After contacting the report, he changed the title and caption of the video to “The very competent Italian police properly resolved the demonstration! Look what happened, my people!”.
How do we check
The first step of the verification was to search Google for the keywords “protest”, “MST” and “Italy”, which resulted in several reports published by the national press in November 2021.
From reading the articles and analyzing the videos of the demonstration present in some of them, Comprova identified the place, date and context of the protest.
After that, the report gathered information about Major Ricardo Silva through social networks (Instagram and Facebook) and the military’s website.
The team also spoke with Janaina Cesar, a journalist who covered the protest for Sheet, and who interviewed Antonio Pio Lancellotti. Finally, the report contacted Major Ricardo Silva by email and, via WhatsApp, the PT and MST press offices.
On November 1, 2021, around 500 young people gathered on Via Belludi, in the city of Padua, Italy, to protest against Jair Bolsonaro’s visit to the country. Protesters carried banners with anti-Bolsonaro slogans and some carried MST flags.
According to a report by Sheetaround 4 pm, Italian time, the protesters tried to break through the barrier of security agents, who were blocking the areas that gave access to the Basilica of Santo Antônio — a place that was to be visited later by the Brazilian president.
Italian police used water cannons, tear gas, shields and batons to disperse the protesters. The group then reacted by throwing flagpoles at the agents.
Bolsonaro in Italy
In November 2021, Bolsonaro was in Italy to receive an honorary citizenship in the city of Anguillara Veneta, which is about 40 km south of Padua. The honor was given by Mayor Alessandra Buoso, linked to the far-right Northern League party. In February of this year, however, city residents and the Green Europe Party filed a lawsuit in court asking for the title to be annulled.
The Brazilian president was in Anguillara Veneta on the morning of November 1, where he was also the target of protests.
The president’s official agenda confirms that Bolsonaro left Rome for Padua at 9 am on November 1 to participate in the ceremony of granting the title of honorary citizen of the municipality of Anguillara Veneta at 1 pm (Italy time). Bolsonaro returned to Brazil on November 2 at 11:40 am.
Ricardo Azevedo da Silva was born in the city of São Paulo, in 1971. He has lived and worked in Santo André, São Paulo for 20 years.
According to information on the major’s website, he is a technician in Aeronautical Electronics and served as a Specialist Sergeant for ten years in the Brazilian Air Force. In addition, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Administration in Public Security and in Law, an alternate deputy and military with over 34 years of experience.
In 2018, he contested the elections for state deputy for the PSL. He had 12,649 votes but was not elected. In 2020, he contested the elections for councilor of Santo André, in São Paulo, for Patriota. He had 1,103 votes and was not elected. Currently, Ricardo Silva is a pre-candidate for state deputy of São Paulo.
Why do we investigate?
Comprova investigates suspicious content about the pandemic, public policies of the federal government and the presidential elections that went viral on social media. The video verified here brings misleading information about the performance of the PT, Lula’s party, in protest against Bolsonaro. Pieces of disinformation involving pre-candidates for the presidency of the Republic can confuse and influence voters’ voting decisions, which is detrimental to the democratic process.
The MST has already appeared in other content investigated by Comprova, such as publications that deceived by claiming that social movements and parties had participated in the depredation of popular houses and that lied about the Army having seized illegal wood linked to NGOs and the MST.