Brazil president calls activist Greta Thunberg a ‘brat’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
(Associated Press)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday called young Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg a “brat” after she expressed concern about the slayings of indigenous Brazilians in the Amazon.

Bolsonaro questioned the coverage news media had given Thunberg, 16, who on Sunday tweeted a link to a story about the murder of two indigenous people in Brazil’s Maranhao state.

“Greta said that the Indians died because they were defending the Amazon,” Bolsonaro told a group of journalists. “It’s impressive that the press is giving space to a brat like that,” he added, using the Portuguese word pirralha.

Following Bolsonaro’s comments, Thunberg changed the bio on her Twitter profile to say “Pirralha.”


Thunberg has become a symbol for youth demanding radical action to confront climate change, having inspired school strikes around the globe.

Her comments about the deaths of the indigenous people came as the U.N. was hosting its international climate change conference, where Brazil’s environmental policies have been the subject of criticism. Deforestation of its Amazon rose nearly 30% in the 12 months through July.

“Indigenous people are being literally murdered for trying to protect the forrest (sic) from illegal deforestation,” she tweeted. “Over and over again. It is shameful that the world remains silent about this.”

The comment by Bolsonaro, who has frequently expressed his admiration for President Trump, follows Trump’s sarcastic dig at Thunberg in September.

The president responded to a video of Thunberg discussing suffering people, dying ecosystems and looming mass extinction by saying, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”