Former Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has condemned those who fired multiple shots at a three-bus convoy comprising a campaign caravan for Luiz Inacio 'Lula' da Silva, Dilma’s predecessor and the Brazil's most popular politician.
“Fascist militias were able to fire a bullet at the side of (former Brazilian President) Lula's caravan bus in Laranjeiras do Sul, Parana. The perpetrators also used nails to pierce the vehicle's tires. But the caravan made it through!” Dilma wrote on Twitter Tuesday night following the incident.
She reiterated that “Fascism is intolerable and will be denounced by everybody who believes in social justice and politics as a means to transform realities.”
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expressed on Twitter "all our solidarity to Lula and the Brazilian people." "Democracy is being attacked with stones and bullets in our brother-country. The fear of losing power and listening to the people's will has spoken," he added.
In a communique, the Venezuelan government also expressed concern over the presence of "armed militias" and the "absence of guarantees for security" that "intend to prevent Lula from running for the presidential elections."
Popular politicians and leaders from across the region also condemned the attack on Lula's bus. Former Argentine President, and current senator, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tweeted, “Since political and judicial persecution hasn't achieved its goal, nor the permanent media smear campaign, now they resort to violence. Be strong Lula!”
Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa also took to Twitter to express support for Lula. “Our solidarity with our companion Lula and his caravan for peace, happiness, victory, means to stop the gunfire attacks by those who can't defeat us at the ballot box,” he wrote.
The progressive lawmakers of the South American Parliament, or Parlasur, also denounced the attacks in a communique, saying it represented "another step in the escalation of violence following the coup against Dilma Rousseff" and the assassination of many social leaders like recently Marielle Franco and Anderson Gomez in Rio de Janeiro. They criticized the right-wing governor of the state of Parana for refusing to provide Lula with a police escort, which they consider as a move to make Lula's candidacy invisible.
Lula, for his part, said, “What I'm seeing now is nearly emergence of nazism. What we're currently witnessing isn't politics, because if they wanted to defeat PT (Workers' Party) they would go to the polls...If they believe that we would be frightened by their actions (firing bullets at the caravan) they are fooled. It will motivate us. We can't allow these fascist nazi groups to do as they please.”
He pointed out that he never resorted to violence, even when he was defeated in presidential elections on several occasions. However, once elected president, Lula said his political opponents never supported his social inclusion programs “and it's for this reason that they don't want me run in another election.”
Lula's caravan was shot at several times yesterday as it traveled between the cities of Quedas del Iguazu and Laranjeiras do Sul in the southern state of Parana, teleSUR corespondent, André Vieira, said.
Caravan members traveling in the convoy said they were unaware that the vehicle had been shot at until they sustained a flat tire. Upon examining the exterior of the bus, it was discovered that a large metal spike had been lodged in one of the tires.
Journalists and other travelers of the caravan found several bullets had perforated the body of the bus, Vieira reported.