The Esplanada dos Ministérios filled up and President Jair Bolsonaro guaranteed the photo he wanted so much. Thousands of voters for the president squeezed in to see him speak and turn the anniversary of Brazil’s independence into a successful political act in his favor. It’s the 25 percent of loyal voters who took off September 7 to wear green and yellow and show their unyielding loyalty to the president. “I swore, how [o vice-presidente Hamilton] Mourao and [o ministro da Defesa] Braga Netto give his life for his country. And you will give your life for your freedom,” Bolsonaro said in a messianic address that cited his role in the presidency as a divine mission. “I came here at the hands of God and I owe Him to lead this nation,” he said, as his supporters shouted, “Moraes in jail!” and “I authorize”, the latter cry in reference to an authorization to intervene in the Supreme.
The attack on the Supreme Court was direct with the clear intention of hitting Minister Alexandre de Moraes, but with a threat to the entire institution. “Or the head of this Power [Luiz Fux] frame your [ministro] or this Power can suffer what we do not want”, he said in reference to the STF, speaking alongside Vice President Hamilton Mourão and some ministers, such as Braga Netto, Labor, Onyx Lorenzoni, Justice, Anderson Torres , and Human Rights, Damares Alves. Bolsonaro and his followers are under pressure from the Court, which acts in the investigations of anti-democratic acts and in the fake news. Several voters of the president who threatened, including death, Minister Moraes were detained in recent days.
The tone of the speech was seen as extremely serious by opponents, especially given the fact that Bolsonaro spoke at a meeting scheduled with the Council of the Republic. The collegiate, formed by the presidents of the three powers, has as one of its powers to pronounce on the decree of federal intervention, state of defense and state of siege. The body is also responsible for deliberating on issues relevant to the stability of democratic institutions. “Tomorrow I will be at the Council of the Republic, together with ministers, the president of the Chamber, the Senate and the Federal Supreme Court, with this photograph of you, to show where we must all go”, he said during the speech.
The PSDB announced that it is calling an extraordinary meeting of the Executive for this Wednesday to deal with the president’s statements. “PSDB president Bruno Araújo convenes an Extraordinary Executive Meeting for this Wednesday, in light of the very serious statements made by the President of the Republic today, to discuss the party’s position on the opening of the Impeachment and possible legal measures”, announced.
Unofficial data that were presented to representatives of the Judiciary and Legislative by intelligence agencies indicate that around 150,000 people attended the pro-Government demonstration. The apex was during Bolsonaro’s speech. Event organizers, however, said there were around 300,000 people. Below what the pocketnarists boasted. The Federal District Military Police did not release an estimate of the public.
In front of his audience, which includes nostalgic for the dictatorship and supporters of the idea of closing the Supreme, the president invested in a media act, including the arrival at the presidential Rolls-Royce Esplanade directed by former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet, an extremist like the president. Upon arrival, he positioned himself alongside ministers to accompany the solemnities in honor of the 7th of September. Before, he made a quick speech in which he said: “Today, I just want to be your spokesperson, and say that what I am speaking from now on is on behalf of you, the Brazilian people”.
The crowd of supporters, who had arrived in Brasília since the weekend, were ecstatic. Some incidents were recorded, such as the invasion of the Esplanade on Monday night and a firecracker that some militants released towards a tree in front of the Ministry of Defense or the attempt by Pocketnaristas to advance on the indigenous encampment located three kilometers from the Esplanade. Finally, there was no invasion of the National Congress or the Supreme, as some authorities feared.
Among his supporters who were in Brasília, the speech was expected. With each increase in the president’s tone, the audience went wild. He called it a “myth”, called for the closure of the Supreme Court and several insisted on military intervention. The public was mostly made up of white, middle-class people. Most of them come from other states in the country, such as the 63-year-old rural producer Nestor Poleto, who owns a soy and corn farm in Nova Mutum, Mato Grosso. “I’m here to fight communism, in favor of freedom. Whether there will be military intervention or not, I don’t know, but Bolsonaro will know what is best”, he said.
Another one who defended radical acts was the driver Márcio Ramos, 53 years old. He advocated the removal of all ministers of the Supreme. “The STF is sending more than the president himself,” he said. Among the protesters there were dozens of them with banners in different languages. The idea was that his message would reverberate in other countries.
Despite the enthusiasm, Bolsonaro continues to speak to his most loyal and radical base, at a time when his rejection exceeds 60%. Mismanagement in the pandemic, inflation and suspicions of corruption raised by the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) of the Pandemic erode the president’s image in the rest of the country. The president lost the political support of several parties and the financial market, especially after the meager GDP result last week. This Tuesday, the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), used the date to tweet: “As Independence Day is celebrated, a strong expression of national freedom, let us not fail to understand our most evident dependence on something that should unite Brazil: the absolute defense of the Democratic Rule of Law.”
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Pacheco signed an article in the newspaper O State of São Paulo in which he leaves no doubt about his position on the president’s actions. “The freedoms of expression and expression enhance a society (…) But it is necessary not to lose sight of the exact understanding of these terms when invoking them, a specialty when the ambiguity of their use may capture the good intention of someone about to mix civic values with authoritarian flirtations.”
In the same vein, the main target of the demonstrations by the Pocketinarians, Minister Alexandre de Moraes, published on your Twitter profile: “On this 7th of September, we celebrate our Independence, which guaranteed our Freedom and which is only strengthened with absolute respect for Democracy.”
At the other end of the Esplanade, three kilometers from the Pocketnarista protest, there was an act of left-wing militants, students and indigenous people, the reporter told Marilia Sena. Estimates by the organizers of this demonstration registered 1,000 participants. PT leader in the Senate, Paulo Paim, said the low adherence to the movement was due to a slow resumption of the anti-Bolsonaro organization. “We are in a process of gathering strength because they threw the Democrats of this country into the corner of the ring. The ability to react through the organization is very high in Brazil. So we’re starting again,” he said during the protest.
Son of the president, federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PSL-SP), mocked the protest of opponents. “I flew over the Esplanade with the president and on the other side there were only half a dozen people. Not even the bread with mortadella helped,” he said, referring to the snack that was usually given to left-wing militants in protests. Despite saying that the support for Bolsonaro is organic, there were hundreds of people who came to Brasília supported by agricultural entities. “I came for free, really. My boss paid me to be here,” rural worker João Carlos Souza, who was in Brasília with a delegation from the interior of Goiás, told EL PAÍS.
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