Protesters have interrupted Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff during a speech in São Paulo demanding that she accept Edward Snowden's plea for political asylum. A group of ten protesters from global campaign network Avaaz and Brazilian youth movement Juntos disrupted the President's speech. During a traditional Christmas ceremony with the city's homeless people and pickers of recyclable material, protesters wearing Snowden masks and holding signs demanded the Brazilian leader welcome Snowden into the country. 

The protest action comes after Snowden published an open letter "to the Brazilian people" asking the country to consider his permanent asylum in exchange for his help anaylzing the NSA's spy operations in the country. Yet the Brazilian government has maintained its position stating it will not be considering granting Snowden permanent asylum. Rousseff did her best to ignore the protesters, instead continuing her speech to Sao Paulo's homeless community at the Grande Plenário in Anhembi. 

According the press release from Avaaz, the protest was organized to urge President Rousseff "to offer the privacy hero the welcoming home he deserves in Brazil." Michael Freitas, campaign manager of Avaaz.org in Brazil stated that the inention behind the protest was also to reach the Brazilian people. "Snowden has the classic trajectory of a hero: he sacrificed himself to open the eyes of the global population, particularly Brazil." 

Freitas says that the ex-NSA analyst chose Brazil from three other countries under consideration. "We don't see why Dilma won't  allow asylum. Brazil has an enormous tradition of political asylum...it doesn't make sense for the president not to welcome Snowden," said Freitas. 

Protester Thiago Aguilar told Jornal do Brasil that "the accusations have become even more serious after the report from Fantastico and so the President's silence becomes even more inexplicable still: just yesterday she said she would not talk about [Snowden]. Thus the idea of the protest action was to show that this individual exists and that he might be perhaps the most significant figure of 2013 yet he is being persecuted in every country."

Edward Snowden, a former NSA analyst who leaked 1.7 million classified documents detailing the US' complex global spy operations, is considered a fugitive by American authorities and is currently living in Russia under temporary asylum. 

Avaaz.org is a global campaign network with over 31 million members living in 194 countries. The organization promotes causes of soical justice around the globe, inspiring its members to take action through online petitions and empowering citizens by organizing public protests and demonstrations.