Pro-Bolsonaro rallies put Brazil on the edge of the abyss

Brazilian Politics Updates

Tens of thousands of supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gathered in the country’s largest city for demonstrations on Tuesday aimed at rallying support for the populist leader.

The rallies, which took place in the capital, Brasilia, and the financial center of São Paulo came as Bolsonaro launched his base in recent months with a violent campaign against several Supreme Court justices, whom he accuses of overstepping their authority.

The former army chief also raised doubts about Brazil’s electronic voting system, saying it was vulnerable to fraud, and threatened to call off elections next year if the system was not modified to include printed paper ballot receipts.

The tense political atmosphere has raised fears that rallies could turn violent or protesters storm the Supreme Court in an echo of the attack on the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump this year.

Federal police on Sunday arrested a supporter of the president who made death threats against Alexandre de Moraes, a judge of the Supreme Court. Moraes angered Bolsonaro after he ordered an investigation of the president as part of a “fake news” investigation.

Police also expanded the security details of Luís Roberto Barroso, another judge who has repeatedly clashed with Bolsonaro over the president’s unfounded allegations of voter fraud.

Bolsonaro arrives at the presidential palace for a flag-raising ceremony on Brazil’s Independence Day on Tuesday © AP

Thousands of his loyal supporters, in the green and yellow of the Brazilian flag, descended on Brasilia on Monday, filling hotels across the city. It was parked along the wide avenues of the inner capital, where there were dozens of double-decker buses, which carried supporters from remote towns and cities hundreds of kilometers away.

Bolsonaro is scheduled to speak at the expected center of congregations in Sao Paulo, downtown Paulista Avenue. he made Freedom – Freedom – the topic of the day. His supporters say the Supreme Court is encroaching on their personal liberties and has adopted the slogan: “The people are their highness.”

“Our country cannot remain hostage to one or two people, no matter where they are,” Bolsonaro said in a video posted from the presidential palace on Tuesday morning. “These are one or two people who either fall into line or will simply be ignored in public life.

“There is only one rule of the game: respect for our constitution and freedom of opinion,” he added.

Despite large crowds expected on Tuesday, a national holiday in Brazil, Bolsonaro’s popularity is falling sharply, as his anti-democracy rhetoric has frightened many one-time supporters, particularly those in the business community.

Atlas polls on Monday showed Bolsonaro’s disapproval rate standing at a record high of 61 percent, while his approval rate stands at 24 percent. Recent opinion polls have also indicated that if elections scheduled for next October were held now, the right-wing leader would lose by a large margin to his main political rival, former left-wing president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

On Faria Lima in Sao Paulo, the Brazilian version of Wall Street, executives are quietly acknowledging that political turmoil is hurting investor sentiment and dampening the desire to invest in Latin America’s largest economy.

Political analysts say Bolsonaro intends to use the rallies to unite his base and show that he still has strong political support.

Alcio Burke, a former truck driver from the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul, said he had traveled 2,000 kilometers to Brasilia to show support for the president.

“They need to let him do his job. STF [Supreme Court] He goes beyond his responsibilities. “They need to work within the four lines of the constitution,” he added.

“We don’t want to end up like Venezuela. Our freedom is at stake,” said Edna Figueiredo of Brasilia. “The Supreme Court does not work for the people, they make laws against the people.”

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