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Brazil: Bolsonaro calls for an end to road blocks

Brazil’s ousted president, Jair Bolsonaro, has urged his supporters to remove roadblocks set up in protest at his defeat in the presidential election. “I appeal to you: open the streets,” he said in a video distributed yesterday (local time) on the online network Twitter. Other protests “in other places” are “welcome” because “they are part of the democratic game”, Bolsonaro added.

“Protesting in a different way, in different places, that’s very good,” he said. “I’m on your side and I’m sure you’re on mine,” he continued. However, the roads must be cleared “for the good of our nation”. Street blocks did not seem to him “part of legitimate demonstrations”, Bolsonaro explained.

In protest against the victory of Bolsonaro’s opponent, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro supporters repeatedly blocked roads in various parts of the country for days. In the south of the state of Santa Catarina, protesters were filmed giving the Nazi salute. Almost 70% of voters voted for Bolsonaro.

In addition, tens of thousands of Bolsonaro supporters have called for the army to intervene. As the Brazilian news site “UOL” reported, demonstrations in front of military installations for an intervention by the Army took place yesterday in eleven of the 27 states – including in front of the Army’s headquarters in the capital Brasília.

Leftist Lula won the presidential election on Sunday against Bolsonaro. Lula won 50.9% of the votes in the second round, Bolsonaro 49.1%. It is the closest presidential election result in Brazil’s recent history. Only after about two days of silence did Bolsonaro declare on Tuesday that he “respected” the Constitution and thus gave the green light for handing over power to Lula – without admitting his defeat.