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Brazil: in front of thousands of supporters, Bolsonaro denounces his ineligibility

Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Sunday in support of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro who denounced his ineligibility during this show of force.

“We cannot accept that any power can remove someone from the political scene, unless it is for a valid reason. We cannot envisage elections by disqualifying opponents,” he said. launched in front of the crowd of his supporters.

The former president, dressed in a yellow jersey of the Brazilian football team, a symbol that the Bolsonaristas have appropriated , was declared ineligible last year until 2030 for disinformation.

Targeted by an investigation into a supposed “coup attempt” to stave off his electoral defeat in 2022 against the current left-wing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva , he again denied any involvement.

“What is a coup ? Tanks in the streets, weapons, plots. None of this happened in Brazil,” he said, asking in addition to “an amnesty for the poor buggers who are imprisoned in Brasilia” after having ransacked the places of power on January 8, 2023, a week after Lula's inauguration.

Brazil: in front of thousands of supporters, Bolsonaro denounces his ineligibility

Aerial view showing former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) greeting his supporters during a rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 25, 2024. © AFP – Miguel SCHINCARIOL

In his speech, he also called himself “persecuted” again. “I seek pacification, to erase the past and find a way to live in peace,” he assured.

Also dressed in green and yellow, his supporters gathered en masse on Paulista Avenue, the emblematic artery of Latin America's largest metropolis. The organizers expected some 500,000 people.

-“God, homeland and family”-

In the crowd, Wilson Aseka, who traveled some 700 kilometers from the neighboring state of Minas Gerais, is certain that “Bolsonaro is an honest person, a victim of persecution.” The 63-year-old man, with a Brazilian flag around his neck, believes that it is “important to support him, because he represents God, the homeland and the family”, the slogan of the former president.

“Brazil is with him, we don't worry about others, but about the fact that he represents us again,” says Giovanna Bruneta, a 36-year-old lawyer.

On February 8, Jair Bolsonaro was banned from leaving Brazilian territory following a large-scale police operation which targeted several former close collaborators , including ex-ministers and high-ranking soldiers, with dozens of searches and arrests.

The former president remained silent on Thursday in the face of investigators from the Federal police who had summoned him in connection with this affair.

The former army captain is also the target of other investigations, in particular for suspicion of falsification of vaccination certificates against Covid-19 or the alleged misappropriation of gifts received from foreign countries, including jewelry offered by the Saudi Arabia.

Despite these scandals, he is still considered the leader of the opposition and remains adored by his supporters. He intends to use his influence despite his ineligibility to elect allies during the municipal elections in October, in a country that is still very polarized.

-“the people are with him”-

On Paulista Avenue, beyond the influx of his supporters, the presence of opposition political figures should make it possible to gauge the extent of his supporters.

Brazil: in front of thousands of supporters, Bolsonaro denounces his ineligibility

Aerial view showing former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) arriving at a rally in Sao Paulo, Brazil, February 25, 2024 © AFP – Miguel SCHINCARIOL

“If there is great support, he will be able to say that the people are with him. Otherwise, he will lose all legitimacy”, estimates André Rosa, political scientist at the University of Brasilia ( UDF).

“On the 25th, I'm going to Brazil. It will be gigantic!” published on X (ex-Twitter) MP Bia Kicis, from Bolsonaro's Liberal Party. the millions of evangelical Brazilians, one of the bases of the Bolsonarist electoral base.

Israeli flags also fly in the middle of the multitude as a sign of disagreement with the words of Lula who last Sunday compared the Israeli offensive in Gaza to the Holocaust, provoking a diplomatic crisis with Israel. The former president himself waved an Israeli flag on the stage installed on a truck.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116