Massive Protests Rock Brazil Over Socialist President’s Coup Probe Into Bolsonaro

Millions of Brazilians took to the streets of Sao Paulo on Sunday to protest socialist President Luiz Inácio “Lula” de Silva’s political persecution of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Bolsonaro supporters wearing yellow and green filled the streets of Brazil’s capital city to defend him against legal challenges that could see him put in jail over riots on Jan. 8, 2023 contesting the country’s election, which critics characterized as a coup.

“They continue to accuse me of a coup. Now the coup is because there is a draft of a state of emergency decree. A coup? Using the constitution? Have holy patience. A coup using the constitution,” Bolsonaro told the huge crowd.

“What is a coup? A coup is putting tanks on the streets, weapons, conspiracy. That did not happen in Brazil,” he said. “What I want is pacification. To erase the past and find a way for us to live in peace.”

Bolsonaro also called for amnesty for the rioters who protested the results of Brazil’s 2022 election.

“It is to seek a way for us to live in peace and stop being so jumpy. Amnesty for those poor people who are jailed in Brasilia. We ask all 513 congressmen, 81 senators for a bill of amnesty so justice can be made in Brazil,” he said.

Initial reports claimed over 185,000 people attended, but military police estimated the size was much bigger.

The demonstration highlights just how widespread Bolsonaro’s support is in Brazil despite the fact he’s been barred from running for office until 2030 over the riots.

That may explain why some people tried to misrepresent the massive demonstration as a pro-Israel rally.

From the Associated Press:

Bolsonaro is barred from running for office until 2030 due to two convictions of abuse of power, but he remains active in Brazilian politics as the main adversary for left-of-center Lula. As this year’s mayoral elections loom, candidates have split between the two leaders.

Some of Bolsonaro’s allies aiming to unseat Lula in the 2026 elections also attended, including influential governors Tarcisio de Freitas of Sao Paulo state and Romeu Zema of Minas Gerais state. But other key politicians and business executives who aligned with him during his 2019-2022 presidency did not show up.

Carlos Melo, a political science professor at Insper University in Sao Paulo, predicted the pro-Bolsonaro event would not help the former president’s legal situation.

“The fact that Bolsonaro doesn’t yield any power now reduces what he can do. Beforehand, we feared he could use the force of the armed forces. Now that is ruled out,” Melo said. “This new reality does not favor him with unpredictability and drama.”

The event showed, though, that Bolsonaro’s message still resonates with many Brazilians, some of whom evidently favor any coup attempt that would put him in charge. One man paraded wearing a military hat and shouted: ”Brazil, nation, hail our forces. The armed forces didn’t sleep!”

A week after Lula took office by a narrow margin, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed the presidential palace, Congress, and the Supreme Court, calling for military intervention to overturn what they claimed was a stolen election.

The de Silva government then launched an investigation into Bolsonaro, seized his passport, and he was subsequently barred from running for office until 2030 by the electoral tribunal.

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