Irregular Political Propaganda Unchecked in the Baixada Fluminense

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With the end of the first round of elections, residents complain about the pollution that was generated by candidates’ propaganda: flyers, signs, banners, flags and easels holding up posters. Politicians spared no effort to win votes with open electoral advertising.

In the Baixada Fluminense, part of the Rio de Janeiro Metropolitan Region just north of Rio proper, it is impossible to forget that we are in an election period. Because it is on the periphery of Rio, and inspection to detect illegalities is rare, some candidates take the opportunity to evade election laws and advertise arbitrarily. In Nova Iguaçu, flyers of candidates called “santinhos,” easels and posters take over squares, streets and sidewalks. Besides ruining the landscape, this advertising disrupts the free circulation of people.

“It’s signs everywhere, plazas, poles, fences, etc. The walkway is full of santinhos on the floor, it’s looking like a carpet from all the paper. Revolting. I think if a candidate is able to make the city this dirty, they are not capable of good public administration,” complained Natalia Vieira, 22.

Last Friday, little cards and pamphlets occupied the corner of a fairly busy street in Nova Iguaçu. According to resident reports, some of the mobile advertisements are not removed at 10pm, as required by law. “I see placards all over the place. They don’t allow us to pass through with a baby stroller, with a shopping cart. Even before being elected, politicians are disturbing our lives,” says Sueli da Silva, 59.

According to Electoral Law nº 9.504/97, art. 37, § 6º, “easels, figurines, posters, tables for distribution of campaign material and banners along public streets are permitted provided they are mobile and do not hinder the movement of people and vehicles.” To avoid this nuisance, it is important for residents to report these issues, even in the second round of elections. A reporting hotline operates on telephone 2253-1177 or on the Regional Electoral Tribunal of Rio de Janeiro (TRE-RJ) website. The site also has a pamphlet indicating dos and don’ts of electoral propaganda.

The situation is the same in the favelas and outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. According to the TRE-RJ, about 8,000 official complaints have been made so far​​: most about irregular advertisement. According to an article published in the newspaper O Dia on September 22, favela residents often report the alleged actions of criminal organizations with politicians. In Rocinha, for example, where the TRE-RJ has already collected seven tons of irregular advertisements, residents denounced the relationship between drug trafficking and neighborhood association leaders.