Thousands of angry protestors in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and in 30 other locations throughout the country on Sunday demanded president Jair Bolsonaro, an avowed climate change denier, take more action to douse the thousands of raging wildfires laying waste to the Amazon rainforest under the country’s control.

They also demand world government’s step in and do more to prevent the further destruction by man-made fires of the Amazon rainforest which, as a whole, produce more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. It is because of the Amazon’s oversized contribution to the livability of the planet it is called “the lungs of the Earth.”

The Rio protest saw thousands of demonstrators march along Ipanema beach, chanting "The Amazon stays, out with Bolsonaro!" Protesters overran the main bus station in Brasília, the capital. They occupied over six blocks of downtown São Paulo while swarming plazas across the northern cities of Recife, Manaus and Belém.

Even before Sunday’s massive protests, criticism from Brazilians and the world community forced Bolsonaro to commit some government resources to fighting the massive wildfires. On Aug. 22, Bolsonaro falsely claimed Brazil doesn’t have the resources to combat the fires.

"The Amazon is bigger than Europe, how will you fight criminal fires in such an area? We do not have the resources for that."

Rising local and international anger, especially from the G7 group of nations that met last week in France, forced Bolsonaro to do what he said was impossible.

The G7 and other countries proposed to ban Brazilian exports and to end negotiations on the European Union-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement in an effort to force Bolsonaro to do something.

Following this threat, Bolsonaro committed over 44,000 Brazilian troops to combat the fires. He also allocated additional funding to the effort.

The catastrophic wildfires gutting Brazil’s Amazon rainforest continue to rage out of control, however.

More than 60% of the wildfires are raging inside Brazil's Legal Amazon (Amazônia Legal) or BLA, the portion of the rainforest within Brazil. The neighboring countries of Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay have also lost vast tracts of the Amazon rainforest to the fires that began late July.

These fires were started by farmers and cattlemen as part of an annual slash and burn cycle to clear forest for cattle grazing and farming.

The fires this year were brought to the attention of the scientific and international community in July and August after the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE) released data based on satellite observations documenting at least 75,336 wildfires burning in the country from January to August 23.

More than 40,000 of these fires are within the Amazon rainforest, the highest number since data collection began in 2013. Bolsonaro reacted to the revelations by firing the head of INPE.

Aerial picture showing smoke from a two-kilometre-long stretch of fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest about 65 km from Porto Velho, in northern Brazil, on August 23, 2019 Aerial picture showing smoke from a two-kilometre-long stretch of fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest about 65 km from Porto Velho, in northern Brazil, on August 23, 2019 Photo: AFP / Carl DE SOUZA He then went on to blame non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for deliberately starting the fires to embarrass his anti-climate change government. NGOs have been scathing in their criticism that policies put in place by Bolsonaro have weakened protection for the Amazon rainforest and the environment in general.

"Everything indicates" NGOs were going to the Amazon to "set fire" to the forest, said Bolsonaro without proof.

"As NGOs lose funding ... What can they do? ... Try to take me down, try to take me down. That's all that's left for them to do."

On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron and Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced the G-7 countries had agreed on a $20 million aid package to help fight Amazon fires and said a reforestation program will be discussed at the UN General Assembly in September.