Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro used the occasion of his 66th birthday on Sunday to mount an attack on city and state leaders for tightening restrictions to curb the skyrocketing coronavirus cases in the country.
In a renewed blitz, Mr Bolsonaro called state governors and mayors “tyrants” for imposing stay-at-home measures due to the pandemic, telling his supporters that he would fight for their “freedom.”
“They’re picking a fight,” Mr Bolsonaro told his supporters who had gathered in front of the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia on Sunday. “If anybody thinks we’re going to give up our freedom, they’re wrong. Some tyrants out there are trying to restrict your freedom. But you can be sure, our army is olive green, and it’s all of you, too,” he said.
“You can count on the armed forces for democracy and freedom,” he further added. “They’re (referring to governors and mayors imposing tight restrictions) stretching the rope. I’ll do anything for my people. This ‘anything’ it’s what is in our constitution, our democracy and our freedom of movement.”
Brazil has recorded more than 294,000 deaths and is facing the world’s second-deadliest outbreak of coronavirus after the US. On Sunday, the country recorded 47,774 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of reported cases over 11 million.
In fact, its leading public health research institutions warned earlier in March that the country’s health system was at the brink of collapse with nearly 80 per cent occupancy of intensive care units in 25 out of 27 states.
Mr Bolsonaro has consistently opposed pandemic related restrictions and reportedly told the country’s Supreme Court to reverse the coronavirus rules imposed by the state leaders. He has accused them of acting like dictators and starving Brazilians by forcing citizens to stay at home.
The government has been under fire for the slow rollout of the vaccine despite the surge in the cases. Less than 10 million people in the country received a single dose of vaccine in the country with a population of 220 million, reported CNN. The government announced that they are in talks with the US to import excess Covid-19 vaccine after the Joe Biden administration on Thursday said that it would loan 2.5 million doses of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine to Mexico and 1.5 million other doses to Canada.
Additional reporting from wires
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