brazil protest 248 88 ap.
(photo credit: AP)
Hundreds of people protested on a Rio de Janeiro beach Sunday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Brazil this week, Army Radio reported.
The demonstration was organized by the Hillel student union, which stated, "anyone who denies the Holocaust also denies Brazilian Jewry."
Some of the demonstrators had visited Israel on Taglit-birthright programs in recent years, Army Radio added.
Earlier this month, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defended his country's friendly relations with Iran, saying such ties are necessary to build lasting peace in the Middle East.
Speaking to reporters alongside President Shimon Peres, who was visiting at the time, Silva said the peace process must include all parties in that region.
"You can't build the peace necessary in the Middle East if you don't talk to all of political and religious forces that want peace or oppose peace," Silva told an Israeli journalist, after being asked about his ties to Ahmadinejad.
Peres jumped in to remark, "We appreciate that Brazil is against terror, against threats to destroy other nations, against those who try to kill innocent people."
Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive in Brazil on Monday and meet with Silva.
AP contributed to this report.