Brazil: Bolsonaro calls for the unblocking of the roads but supports the demonstrators

Posted Nov 3, 2022, 7:57 AM

“I appeal to you: unblock the roads. This is the message sent Wednesday by Jair Bolsonaro to his supporters. For the outgoing president, the roadblocks, in place in more than half of the states of Brazil, are not “part of legitimate demonstrations”.

“We cannot use the methods of the left, […] which prevent freedom of movement,” the far-right leader had already declared on Tuesday. These roadblocks have notably led to supply difficulties in the country, which relies almost exclusively on road transport for the transport of goods and food products.

The federal highway police (PRF) listed a hundred blockages still in force affecting 12 states, according to a report published Wednesday evening. A total of some 776 such protests have been dispersed so far, she said. Their numbers dropped drastically when the police began to use force, with the approval of the Supreme Court.

“Lula, thief, your place is in prison”

On Wednesday, Jair Bolsonaro however considered that certain demonstrations were legitimate. “Other demonstrations that are held throughout Brazil, in other places, are part of the democratic game, they are welcome,” he added. In Sao Paulo, thousands of Bolsonarists demonstrated in front of the military command of the south-east, demanding an intervention of the army with cries of “federal intervention immediately”.

A similar demonstration outside the army headquarters in Brasilia also brought together thousands of protesters, some chanting “civil resistance”. Same scenario in Rio de Janeiro, where thousands of people sang in front of the military command: “Lula, thief, your place is in prison”.

Nazi salutes were filmed during protests in the southern state of Santa Catarina. According to the UOL news site, demonstrations in favor of an intervention of the army took place on Wednesday in front of military buildings in 11 of the 27 states of the country.

Green light for the transition with Lula

These protests took place the day after the speech by Jair Bolsonaro, ex-captain of the army nostalgic for the military dictatorship (1964-85), narrowly defeated for president Sunday by ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010). He broke up on Tuesday, a heavy silence of two days to say that he would “respect” the Constitution and gave the green light for the transition with his left-wing successor Lula.

But he also delivered a message received as encouragement by his supporters: “Peaceful demonstrations will always be welcome. According to him, they are “the fruit of indignation and a feeling of injustice concerning the way in which the electoral process took place”. A sentence taken up on Wednesday by his deputy son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, in a post on Instagram which showed an aerial view of the demonstration in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil: Bolsonaro calls for the unblocking of the roads but supports the demonstrators