Celio Elias Meat workers union SINTIACR
On March 23, workers from the JBS's - the world's largest meat company - units in Forquilhinha and Nova Veneza in the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, were repressed for protesting the company's decision to keep the production lines running without adequate protection against the spread of the coronavirus. On March 19, a labor court in Forquilhinha agreed to the union's demand to close the plants due to the hazardous conditions. The ordinance was withdrawn on March 23 under pressure from JBS. The company claimed that poultry processing is essential for supplying protein to the Brazilian population, but at least 80 percent of what JBS produces in Santa Caterina is for export. When workers at both meat processing plants in Santa Catarina protested on March 23 in front of the plants, they were violently attacked by the civil and military police allegedly under JBS command. Tear gas was fired at the workers and Celio Elias, former president and current adviser to the union, was arrested.