Brazilian women rally against presidential frontrunner

RIO DE JANEIRO: Hundreds of thousands of women turned out for a wave of nationwide protests in Brazil on Saturday against the candidacy of the right-wing frontrunner in next week’s presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro. The controversial Bolsonaro, who was released from hospital on Saturday after being stabbed and seriously wounded by a left-wing activist during a rally on September 6, is currently leading in opinion polls. Marches organised by a social media campaign under the hashtag #EleNao (Not Him) began in earnest around 1800 GMT in dozens of cities including Rio de Janeiro, where thousands of women converged at vast Cinelandia square, to be joined by a column of others marching from the Avenida Rio Branco, a major thoroughfare.
Small groups took to the streets even earlier in Sao Paulo and other locations. Demonstrations also took place abroad, from Dublin and Paris to Budapest and Beirut. Superstar Madonna proclaimed her solidarity with the cause in an Instagram post that included the hashtag #endfascism. The Time’s Up movement which supports sexual abuse victims tweeted its support: “To our sisters in Brazil: We are all in this together. We see you and hear you. We are with you.” “Women of Brazil, women outside Brazil, all women, it’s time to join in,” said Ludimilla Teixeira, one of the march organisers.
“Either we join now to fight or we’re going to gather to mourn later.”  By the time the women headed home, organisers said that at least a half million took part. Police did not offer figures. Bolsonaro, a 63-year-old former army captain, has been branded racist, misogynist and homophobic by his detractors. He has specifically angered women by seeking to justify a yawning gender wage gap, and has argued against employing women if it was likely they would become pregnant. Bolsonaro further inflamed his opponents on Friday by saying he would accept no outcome in the October 7 balloting but his own victory. — AFP