BRASILIA: President Jair Bolsonaro upped his attacks on perceived enemies including the Supreme Court and the electoral system on Tuesday, vowing to defend supporters’ “freedom” as Brazil marked its Independence Day with rival pro- and anti-government rallies.
Throngs of Bolsonaro supporters flooded streets with the green, yellow and blue of the national flag in Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities, holding massive prayer sessions and chanting slogans in support of the embattled far-right leader.
Shouting “Get out, Bolsonaro!”, opposition protesters held their own rival rallies, an opening salvo ahead of elections in October 2022 that polls currently place the president on track to lose.
Bolsonaro, whose popularity is at an all-time low, is seeking to fire up his base in the face of a flagging economy and a series of investigations targeting him and his inner circle.
Bolsonaro, a 66-year-old former army captain who is openly nostalgic for Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), warned his backers their “democracy” and “freedom” were under threat.
“As of today, we’re going to start writing a new history here in Brazil,” he told the rally in the capital, where he kicked the day off with a flag-raising ceremony and Air Force flyover. — AFP