Brazilian protests intensify.Bolsonaro is silent

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Two men were sitting at a bar and having a drink to escape the scorching heat in Brazil’s state of Mato Grosso on November 21 when a police officer broke in and set fire to a truck and an ambulance. was arrested on suspicion of Molotov Cocktail.

One man threw away an illegal firearm and tried to escape. Inside his truck, officers found a jug of gasoline, a knife, a pistol, a slingshot, hundreds of stones, and he found 9,999 reais (about $1,900) in cash.

According to court documents seen by the Associated Press, the federal judge pointed out that the apparent motive for their violence was “dissatisfaction with the outcome of the last presidential election and the pursuit of its undemocratic reversal,” citing their preventive actions. ordered detention.

For more than three weeks, supporters of incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro blocked roads as they refused to accept a narrow election defeat in October. encamped outside a military building It is located in Mato Grosso, a soybean producing country in Brazil. They have also held protests in other states across the country, calling for military intervention and marching orders from the commander-in-chief.

Since his election defeat, Bolsonaro has addressed the nation only twice, urging them to continue the protests as long as they are legitimate and do not block people from coming and going.

Bolsonaro has also not denied the recent emergence of violence. But he has challenged the results of the election — the president of election officials said it was intended to provoke protests.

Although most of the demonstrations are peaceful, the tactics deployed by hardcore participants are beginning to concern the authorities. The actions of militias and domestic terrorists were compared.

Matt Grosso is one of the country’s hotbeds of unrest. Borges said the main target is a Grupo Madge soybean truck owned by a tycoon who has voiced his support for president-elect Luis Inacio Lula da Silva. There are also signs that people and businesses in the state may be fueling the protests elsewhere.

Road blockages and violence have been reported in the states of Rondonia, Para, Parana and Santa Catarina. In the latter case, the Federal Highway Police said protesters blocking the highway employed “terrorist” methods such as homemade bombs, fireworks, nails, stones and barricades made of charred tires. .

Police also said the weekend roadblocks were unlike those implemented shortly after the October 30 runoff election, with truck drivers blocking more than 1,000 roads and highways across the country, leaving only isolated incidents. He also mentioned that there was

Most resistance actions now take place at night and are carried out by “very violent and organized hooded men” operating simultaneously in different parts of the state.

“The situation has become very critical” in Mato Grosso state, state prosecutor Borges told The Associated Press. Among other examples, he noted that protesters in Sinop, the state’s second most populous city, ordered shops and businesses to close this week in support of the movement. will retaliate against anyone,” he said.

since the vote Bolsonaro disappeared from public view And his daily agenda is mostly empty, prompting speculation as to whether he’s stewing or scheming.

The government transition mission was led by the chief of staff, with Vice President Hamilton Mourain stepping in to preside over the official ceremony. . He said erysipelas is a skin infection on his feet that prevents the president from wearing trousers.

But even Bolsonaro’s social media accounts are silent, save for general posts about his regime, apparently from his communications team. And, with rare exceptions, the live social media broadcasts he used to make every Thursday night during his administration have been canceled. increase.

Still, demonstrators who have been encamping outside military barracks across Brazil for weeks are confident they have his unspoken support.

“I completely understand why he doesn’t want to talk. They (the news media) distort his words,” Rio de Janeiro. She refused to give her full name, and she claimed her protest was infiltrated by an informant.

Joelma and others say they are outraged by Bolsonaro’s defeat, claiming the election was rigged, echoing the claims of the incumbent president — made without evidence — Electronic voting systems are prone to fraud.

Scenes of massive barbecues with free food and portable bathrooms at some protests, and reports of free bus rides taking demonstrators to the capital, Brasilia, have funded rallies and roadblocks. It has prompted research into the people and companies that provide and organize.

The Supreme Court has frozen at least 43 bank accounts for alleged involvement, news site G1 reported, most of them from Mato Grosso.Borges noted the involvement of agribusiness actors in the protests, many of whom support Bolsonaro’s push to develop the Amazon rainforest and allow previously banned pesticides. In addition, the president-elect da Silva is Promised to rebuild environmental protection.

Most recently, protesters The president’s decision to officially challenge the election results.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro and his party submitted a request to election officials to invalidate votes cast in nearly 60% of electronic voting machines, citing software bugs in older models. Although the bug is newly discovered, it does not affect the results, Election Authority President Alexandre Demorais said: It promptly refused the “strange and illegal” request.

Demoraes, who is also a Supreme Court Justice, said it was an “attack on the democratic rule of law and aimed at fostering crime and anti-democratic movements.”

On November 21, Attorney General Augusto Arras summoned federal prosecutors in states where obstruction and violence have escalated for an emergency meeting. Aras, widely seen as a Bolsonaro heavyweight, said he received an intelligence report from local prosecutors and directed Mato Grosso to request federal help to remove the blocked highway. Stated.

It was ultimately not necessary as local law enforcement managed to quell the demonstrations and all roads in Matt Grosso and elsewhere were cleared by Monday night, according to the Federal Highway Police. Guillerme Casarois, professor of political science at the Getulio Vargas Foundation University, said it was unclear how long this would last as President Bolsonaro remained silent.

“By his silence, he keeps people on the streets,” Casaroes said. “That’s his big advantage today: a very mobilized, very radical base.”


Associated Press reporter Carla Bridi in Brasilia, Brazil contributed to this report.