Brazil’s Bolsonaro Rallies His Followers Against The Courts In A Major Demonstration

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Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gather on Copacabana Beach on Independence Day in Rio de Janeiro.

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His speech followed a helicopter flyover, with those on the ground seized with euphoria at the sight. They applauded and shouted, «Legend!» and «I authorize!» — a slogan widely understood as blanket approval of his methods.

Bolsonaro has called on the Senate to impeach de Moraes, who has jailed several of the president’s supporters for allegedly financing, organizing or inciting violence or disseminating false information.

Massive participation in rallies scheduled across the country would reinforce Bolsonaro’s push to prove he retains strength — despite slumping poll ratings — and recover momentum after a string of setbacks.

He is also seeking support in his dispute with the high court. Some on Tuesday carried banners calling for military intervention to secure Bolsonaro’s hold on power.

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro arrives for a flag raising ceremony at Alvorada Palace presidential residence on Independence Day in Brasilia, Brazil.

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Regina Pontes, 53, stood atop a flatbed that advanced toward police barriers preventing access to Congress and the Supreme Court. She said the Brazilian people have every right to enter the area.

«You can’t close the door to keep the owner out,» she said.

The world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, a drumbeat of accusations of wrongdoing in the government’s handling of the pandemic, and surging inflation have weighed on Bolsonaro’s approval ratings.

Polls show his nemesis, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, could trounce him in a runoff if he enters the race.

Bolsonaro set out to prove pollsters wrong with Tuesday’s demonstration, whose organizers promised: «Sept. 7 will be gigantic!»

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A protester holds an effigy of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that reads in Portuguese «Genocide» during a protest against the president’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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On the eve of Tuesday’s protest, Bolsonaro signed a provisional measure sharply limiting social media platforms’ ability to remove content, restrict its spread or block accounts.

A 69-year-old farmer from Minas Gerais state, Clever Greco, came to Brasilia with a group of more than 1,000 others. He said Brazil’s conservatives back Bolsonaro’s call for the removal of two Supreme Court justices by peaceful means. But Greco also likened his trip to deploying for war.

«I don’t know what day I’ll go back. I’m prepared to give my blood, if needed,» Greco said. «We’re no longer asking; the people are ordering.»

The U.S. Embassy in Brasilia last week warned Americans to steer clear of the protests.

«This is an important moment and surrounded by a lot of apprehension,» Paulo Calmon, a political science professor at the University of Brasilia, said before the demonstrations. «The risk we see scenes of violence and an institutional crisis that’s unprecedented in Brazil’s recent history still remains and is considerable.»

  • Jair Bolsonaro
  • Brazil

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