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“Disturbance of the democratic system”: Bolsonaro’s supporters want the overthrow in Brazil

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They call themselves “the good citizens” and appeal to God. They dress in yellow and green, the national colors of Brazil, and claim they are defending the fatherland.

They say their president is incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and they will never accept Lula da Silva as head of state.

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The left-wing Lula won the runoff against Bolsonaro on October 30 with 51 to 49 percent. He will take office on January 1st. But then, if you believe the warnings of the ultra-right Bolsonaro supporters, Brazil will turn into a communist dictatorship.

Then he just goes blind.

Bolsonaro supporters to the father of a nine-year-old boy whose eye surgery they boycotted.

In order to prevent this, thousands of them have been demonstrating in front of barracks since election day and are demanding that the military intervene. One of their lies is that the election was unfair and there was manipulation. They also block important federal roads, set fire to barricades and threaten anyone who objects to them.

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It is downright terror that the supporters of President Bolsonaro are exercising – Brazil’s media are also using this term more and more often. They are now talking about “putschists” or “criminals”.

Last Monday, they stopped an ambulance carrying a nine-year-old who had an urgent appointment for eye surgery and was at risk of going blind. Bolsonaro fans said to his father: “Then he’ll go blind.”


percent of voters voted for Lula in the presidential election.

Elsewhere, they forced students to walk for miles under a scorching sun to get to the all-important entrance exam for Brazil’s federal universities. They sneered at the students making the “L” for Lula with their thumb and forefinger.

Journalists also regularly threaten Bolsonaro’s supporters, including forcing a reporter from Deutsche Welle to delete his footage. Elsewhere, they set fire to the trucks of a haulage company that would not bow to their compulsion.

Bolsonaro supporters are calling for a military coup.
© Photo: AFP/ Tercio Teixeira

On the one hand, the northern Amazon states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso, where the soybean and livestock industries are strong and which under Bolsonaro had a kind of license to clear the jungle, are particularly hard hit by the riots. And on the other hand, the southern state of Santa Catarina, which is shaped by the ultra-conservative descendants of German immigrants. In all three, Bolsonaro did above average in the election.

Bolsonaro files an appeal against the election results

Bolsonaro himself went into hiding after his election defeat. It was said that he was bitter and that he had erysipelas on his leg, a bacterial skin infection. Bolsonaro also appears to have stepped down as president, although he will remain in office until the end of the year.

Rarely, however, does the cabinet still govern: In parts of the poor and arid north-east, where Lula received many votes, the water supply was promptly shut down due to a lack of funding for water trucks.

Bolsonaro’s long silence is interpreted by the blockers as approval and as a sign that he is planning something – that the election result could be overturned again.

Leftist Lula da Silva won the runoff against Bolsonaro on October 30.
Leftist Lula da Silva won the runoff against Bolsonaro on October 30.
© Photo: dpa/Lincon Zarbietti

In fact, this week Bolsonaro’s Liberal Party (PL) presented a report claiming that 280,000 ballot boxes (around 59 percent of all ballot boxes) may have been tampered with. Their results would therefore have to be annulled.

Bolsonaro would have won the election. Interestingly, however, the PL’s lawsuit only concerns the second ballot between Lula and Bolsonaro.

In the first ballot, numerous deputies and senators from the PL were elected at the same polls, which is now the strongest faction in parliament. Brazil’s electoral court and experts for electronic voting machines rejected the allegations of the PL as unfounded. There were no irregularities, the lawsuit was aimed solely at creating unrest and fueling the Bolsonarian legend of the stolen election.

Chief Elector Moraes and Lula are hate figures

Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who is also Chief Electoral Judge, said the PL’s arguments were “wrong”. He imposed a fine of the equivalent of four million euros on the party for “disrupting the democratic system”. He initiated investigations against its chairman.

For many democratic-minded Brazilians, the conservative Moraes has become a hero because of his uncompromising and fearless stance. Like Lula, he has become a hate figure for Bolsonaro and his fanatical fans.

Competing against each other: Lula da Silva (left) and Jair Bolsonaro (right).
Competing against each other: Lula da Silva (left) and Jair Bolsonaro (right).
© Photo: AFP/Nelson Almeida

Brazil’s military and the otherwise seldom squeamish traffic police have so far allowed the Bolsonarian troublemakers in front of the barracks and on the streets to do as they please.

It’s no secret that Bolsonaro enjoys a lot of sympathy among the generals, and on election day the traffic police tried to prevent Lula’s voters from coming to their polling stations.

The protests are also far less spontaneous than they might appear. They are often orchestrated and generously funded by local entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, election winner Lula da Silva is simply planning his government. What is certain is that Bolsonaro left him with a huge budget deficit, a damaged education and health system, and weakened environmental authorities and research institutions.

However, the ongoing riots also show that Lula will have to rule a deeply divided Brazilian society from January.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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