RIO DE JANEIRO – Hundreds of handicapped Brazilians took to the streets here Sunday along with relatives and friends to demand their right to dignified living conditions.
The demonstration, conducted to the rhythms produced by the musicians of a samba club, came one day before the National Day of Struggle for People with Disabilities, which will be held nationwide on Monday.
The participants moved down Avenida Atlantica, which runs along Copacabana beach to demand rights such as access to public facilities for people with physical limitations, social inclusion programs and government policies to support scientific research.
“We want the public to become aware of our struggle and of the difficulties of inclusion, of accessibility (for handicapped people), and that is what we came to show,” said Marcao, a young man in a wheelchair who was one of the marchers.
Many of the participants, despite their physical limitations, danced to the samba tunes, either in their wheelchairs or supported on crutches.
The march was called by Espaco Novo Ser, a non-governmental organization, with the support of dozens of other organizations fighting for the rights of people who suffer from various types of disabilities.
According to the president of Espaco Novo Set, Nena Gonzalez, the purpose of the march was to “call the attention of society” to the problems confronting the disabled each day and to ask the authorities “to look with more affection” on those who suffer from such problems.