Jair Bolsonaro, “the battered Brazilian leader”, is “in an apparent attempt to project force at the worst moment of his presidency” by calling on the population to take to the streets on the September 7 holiday. The assessment is from the British newspaper The Guardian, one of the press organizations that highlighted on Tuesday (09/07) the pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations planned for this Tuesday, called by the president himself.
“Many citizens fear violence as Bolsonaro’s hardline supporters take to the streets to defend a leader whose popularity ratings have plummeted as a result of corruption scandals involving his allies and relatives and the way he handled the covid pandemic, who killed more than 580,000 people,” says the newspaper, in an article with a headline on its cover.
“Others fear that, with the support of the military, Bolsonaro may be about to attempt a self-coup, whereby he would seize dictatorial powers by closing down Brazil’s democratic institutions.”
The newspaper reported the episode at dawn from Monday to Tuesday, in Brasília, in which pro-Bolsonaro protesters broke a blockade by the PM in Brasília and invaded the Esplanada dos Ministérios, in an area close to the Supreme Court.
The Guardian report highlights the speech of a protester against the police who worked on the Esplanade’s security: “God will make you pay for this. You communists,” says the protester, in a video quoted by the newspaper.
The episode of the invasion of the Esplanade of Ministries was also the subject of a report in the German magazine Der Spiegel, which drew comparisons with the invasion of the United States Capitol on January 6 this year by supporters of former US President Donald Trump.
“Supporters of the extremist right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro broke a police line in the Brazilian capital. Hundreds of them overcame a siege with trucks and cars on the eve of Brazil’s Independence Day, according to Brasília police. They reached the avenue that gives access to Congress. and to the Supreme Court of the country, which was closed for security reasons,” says Der Spiegel.
“The government of the capital sent 5,000 police to protect public buildings because of the demonstrations announced for Independence Day. Authorities want to avoid scenes similar to the takeover of the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump in January.”
The German magazine also reported on Bolsonaro’s decree making it difficult for Internet platforms to exclude content.
“Bolsonaro is under pressure a year before the presidential election, due to extremely low poll numbers and a declining economy,” says the magazine.
The French newspaper Le Monde says that the result of today’s demonstrations is “totally unpredictable” in an article entitled: “In Brazil, a national holiday and high-risk demonstrations”.
Argentine newspaper La Nacion suggests that Bolsonaro’s motivation would be to target Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his potential rival in the 2022 elections.
In the article entitled “Bolsonaro burns ships with show of force in the street to beat Lula,” the Argentine newspaper writes: “With more than a year to go before the presidential election, and with his hated rival Lula at the forefront in voter preferences, Jair Bolsonaro he decided to burn the ships and reverse his fate with the demonstrations he called tomorrow [terça-feira] in most cities across the country.”
“The Brazilian president called his bases for a demonstration in the streets of the country’s independence day, with which he hopes to resume the initiative at a time when he is farther than ever from public opinion and in a deadly confrontation with the Judiciary, a scenario that it could not have been imagined in his first presidential campaign, when the one who was on the defensive, and in fact arrested, was Lula.”
The newspaper claims that Bolsonaro’s bet “is risky” because his onslaught against the institutions is being “poorly digested by some of his closest allies”, such as the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira.
Argentine newspaper El Clarin says Bolsonaro hopes to gather two million protesters at the event in São Paulo, but ponders: “It’s hard to imagine such a crowd on the emblematic Avenida Paulista, as in recent demonstrations the president gathered just a few tens of thousands in the most populous city from the country.”
El Clarin highlights an interview with political scientist Geraldo Monteiro, from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, who says that this day of mobilization could “mark a turning point” in Brazil.
“If successful, Bolsonaro will offer a ‘demonstration of strength that can give him more leeway’ and a new impetus for the 2022 presidential election, in which polls said he would be largely defeated by the leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,” says the Argentine newspaper.
“But in the event of a fiasco, the president will be “even more cornered”, at the risk of being abandoned by his political allies and the business world.”
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