An open letter alleges pro-Bolsonaro followers staging rallies Tuesday represent a danger to democracy and amount to an insurrection modeled on Donald Trump supporters’ attack on the U.S. Capitol on 6 January.
The leaders state that marches by Bolsonaro supporters against the Supreme Court and Congress, including white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials, are “stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third-largest democracy."
Bolsonaro Believes He Will Be either Reelected or Killed
José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish former prime minister, Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, Jeremy Corbyn, the former UK Labour leader, Fernando Lugo, the former Paraguayan president, Caroline Lucas, the British Green MP, and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, the Argentine Nobel laureate and human rights activist, are among the signatories.
They point out that on August 10, Bolsonaro “directed an unprecedented military parade through the capital city of Brasília, as his allies in Congress pushed sweeping reforms to the country’s electoral system that he says is critical before the presidential elections next year."
The president himself said on August 21 that the marches were preparation for a “necessary countercoup” against Congress and the Supreme Court, bolstering his message that Brazil’s “communist constitution” had taken away his power, and accused “the judiciary, the left, and a whole apparatus of hidden interests” of conspiring against him.
The open letter warns: “Members of Congress in Brazil have warned that the 7 September mobilization has been modeled on the insurrection at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, when then-president Donald Trump encouraged his supporters to ‘stop the steal’ with false claims of electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential elections."
The letter further states: “We are gravely concerned about the imminent threat to Brazil’s democratic institutions – and we stand vigilant to defend them ahead of 7 September and after. The people of Brazil have struggled for decades to secure democracy from military rule. Bolsonaro must not be permitted to rob them of it now.”
Other signatories include Ernesto Samper Pizano, a former president of Colombia; Cori Bush, a U.S. Democrat House of Representatives member; Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the French presidential candidate and Manon Aubry, the French MEP.
Over 5,000 police officers will reportedly be deployed to protect Congress amid fears that it could suffer the same fate as the U.S. Capitol after Trump’s defeat. Leftist figures urged their followers to avoid confrontations by not holding counterprotests, and the U.S. embassy told its citizens to steer clear.
On Thursday, the chief justice of Brazil’s supreme court, Luiz Fux, said people should be aware of the “judicial consequences of their acts," whatever their political leanings. “Freedom of expression does not entail violence and threats,” Fux stated.
Polls show 60% of voters do not plan to vote for Bolsanaro in any circumstances in the 2022 presidential elections, with voters furious at his mismanagement of the Covid crisis.