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Brazilian activists demand asylum for Snowden

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Brazilian campaigners have gathered outside the Foreign Ministry building in the capital Brasilia to demand the government grant asylum to US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden.

On Thursday, the campaigners walked to the Foreign Ministry building while chanting slogans and carrying symbolic boxes of data.

They handed in a one million names-strong petition, asking asylum for Snowden.

Reports say that global campaigning organization Avaaz launched the petition last December and has collected 1.1 million online signatures since then.

The petition demands Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff offer the US whistleblower refugee.

“We are handing in the document to the Foreign Ministry,” AFP quoted Avaaz campaigns director Michael Freitas Mohallem as saying.

“The Brazilian government had said it required a formal request from Snowden to grant asylum. Today, more than a million people have done what Snowden cannot and presented this request in his name,” said Avaaz director Ricken Patel in a statement.

A Brazilian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the petition would be handed over to the Justice Ministry.

Snowden said in December last year that he was ready to help the Brazilian government investigate US spying activities in the Latin American country.

The former CIA employee leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.

Last October, Rousseff canceled a visit to Washington after it was revealed that her cell phone was monitored by the US surveillance program, as were the state oil company Petrobras and Brazilian citizens.

Snowden is now in Russia after Moscow granted him asylum in August for one year.


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