Bolsonaro supporters urge Brazil’s military to intervene after Lula victory

Around 40,000 gathered outside army bases in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia

Kim Sengupta
in Sao Paulo
Wednesday 02 November 2022 21:50 GMT
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Brazil elections: Celebrations as left-wing Lula reclaims presidency from Bolsonaro

Supporters of Jair Bolsonaro have appealed to Brazil’s military to intervene and stop Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from taking power even as the hard-right leader appeared to be increasingly resigned to accepting his loss in the presidential election.

Around 40,000 people gathered outside army bases in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and the capital, Brasilia, demanding a coup take place to annul the vote and prevent the president-elect Lula, who they claim is a dangerous left-wing radical, taking over.

The crowd, drenched in bouts of rain, waved the national flag and portraits of Bolsonaro, sang the national anthem and chanted “Armed forces, save Brazil” and “United, the people will never be defeated”. Some vowed that they would never accept Lula as the leader of the country and resist with all means necessary.

“The system is rotten, it is corrupt and the country is getting ruined,” shouted Felipe de Silva, a 58-year-old businessman. “Lula is a crook, his party will turn Brazil into a Cuba or Venezuela. All the good work done by Bolsonaro is being dismantled.”

Thousands of Bolsonaristas gather outside the Armed Forces HQ in Sao Paulo
Thousands of Bolsonaristas gather outside the Armed Forces HQ in Sao Paulo (AFP via Getty Images)

Anna Magalhaes, who had arrived at the rally with her husband and three children, all wearing Brazilian football jerseys, wanted to stress that “the president did not accept that he has been defeated”.

She added: “He said he will allow [the transition] process to take place so that the government does not break down. But the military should step in now and be in charge until this mess is sorted out.”

The military had been brought in by Bolsonaro to check the results of the election. But officers carrying out the task reportedly told him that they had found no irregularities in the count.

In his first public statement two days after losing the election, by 50.9 per cent to 49.1 per cent, Mr Bolsonaro failed to concede victory to his opponent. However, he subsequently met seven judges of the Supreme Court and reportedly acknowledged there was no way back into office for him.

One of the judges, Edson Fachin, relayed afterwards: “The president used the verb ‘to end’ in the past tense. He said it’s over. Therefore we look ahead.”

Bolsonaro supporters outside the Eastern Military Command in Rio hold a banner reading 'federal intervention’
Bolsonaro supporters outside the Eastern Military Command in Rio hold a banner reading 'federal intervention’ (EPA)

Truckers supporting Bolsonaro, who had been blocking roads in protest at the election result, were still on the streets in numbers, although around 600 barricades they errected had been taken down following a Supreme Court order, with 156 still remaining.

Footage on social media appeared to show some police officers colluding with the truckers.

Football fans trying to get to games took matters into their own hands in a number of areas. Fans of the Sao Paulo club Corinthians clearing a stretch of highway held up a banner saying “we are for democracy” and chanted Lula’s name.

Corinthians became renowned for their opposition to the military dictatorship which took over the country between 1964 and 1985.

The road between Belo Horizonte and Sao Paulo was cleared by supporters of Atletico Mineiro, which is nicknamed “Galo”.

A video on social media showed one fan at work declaring :“We’re going to see the Galo whatever happens. The barricades-busting troops are here.”

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