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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro called climate activist Greta Thunberg a "pirralha," which means "little brat" in Portuguese on Tuesday.
Two days prior, Thunberg had spoken out against the killing of indigenous Brazilian people in the Amazon.
After Bolsonaro's insult, Thunberg changed her Twitter bio to read simply: "pirralha."
This isn't the first time Thunberg has gotten into a social media spat with a world leader — she and President Donald Trump sparred on Twitter in September.
Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is going toe-to-toe with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
In a press conference in Brasília on Tuesday, Bolsonaro called Thunberg a "pirralha," a Portuguese word meaning brat or pest.
"Greta's been saying Indians have died because they were defending the Amazon," Bolsonaro said in Portuguese. "It's amazing how much space the press gives this kind of 'pirralha.'"
He was referring to a tweet Thunberg shared on Sunday, in which she denounced the killing of indigenous Brazilian peoples in the Amazon. She included a video of a drive-by shooting that left two indigenous leaders dead in Maranhão, Brazil.
"Indigenous people are literally being murdered for trying to protect the forest from illegal deforestation. Over and over again," Thunberg wrote on Twitter. "It is shameful that the world remains silent about this."
Following Bolsonaro's statements, Thunberg changed her Twitter profile on Tuesday. Her bio now reads simply: "Pirralha."
This was not Thunberg's first Twitter spat with a world leader
This isn't the first time Thunberg has sparred with a president on social media.
In September, after Thunberg gave a fiery, impassioned speech to UN leaders, President Donald Trump mockingly tweeted: "She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!"
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Less than 24 hours later, Thunberg hit back by changing her Twitter bio to: "A very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future."
Bolsonaro positions himself as tough on crime
Gabriela Baesse, a Brazilian activist attending the United Nations' COP25 climate conference in Madrid, told the Associated Press that her president's insulting comment about Thunberg shows he "doesn't understand the youth."
Marina Silva, Brazil's former environment minister, told the AP that the comment was "incoherent" with Bolsonaro's position of being tough on crime.
"He should not worry about fighting Greta because she showed solidarity with the indigenous that were murdered," Silva said. "He should fight the criminals that murdered the indigenous instead of fighting Greta."
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In Brazil's 2018 presidential election, Bolsonaro ran on a platform of reducing crime in the country. "A good criminal is a dead criminal," he said while campaigning. In August, amid a push to expand legal protections for security forces, police, and citizens who shoot alleged criminals, Bolsonaro said he hopes criminals will "die in the streets like cockroaches."
This summer, tens of thousands of fires ravaged the Brazilian Amazon following a season of record-breaking deforestation. Some farmers and loggers in Brazil illegally burn the forest to clear land for crops and pastures; so far, Brazil has experienced more than 193,000 fires in 2019.
"The enormity of the deforestation growth in Brazil is no accident," Christian Poirier, program director of the non-profit Amazon Watch, previously told Business Insider.
Poirier said he thinks the deforestation and fires "can be attributed entirely to the environmental mismanagement policies and rhetoric of Bolsonaro," since the Brazilian president has promised to open up large swaths of the rainforest to development and pave a highway through the Amazon.
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