Bolsonaro tells fans to ‘stand up’ as Brazilian army deploys tanks on Independence Day

Independence Day celebrations are scheduled across the country for Wednesday, with festivities organized primarily by the military in the form of parades and equipment shows.Bolsonaro himself attended a military parade in the capital, Brasilia, that morning. I will give a speech there, and then I will give another speech at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

But at the same time, his presidential campaign planned reelection rallies in hundreds of cities. Paulo Roseno, a Bolsonaro supporter and former army sergeant who helped him organize one such rally in São Paulo, told CNN that millions of people had turned up in support of Bolsonaro’s candidacy. The city’s Paulista said he expects to congregate on his avenue.

Although Independence Day is considered a nonpartisan national holiday, the president has often called it a key milestone in his re-election campaign, telling his supporters to prepare to “give their lives” on the day. An outspoken populist president.

“I call on you to take to the streets one last time on the 7th of September…You here have pledged to give your life for freedom. Repeat with me: I am for freedom. I pledge to give my life to ,” Bolsonaro said as he accepted the Liberal Party’s presidential nomination on July 23.

Most recently, Mr Bolsonaro called on his fans to “stand their ground” and “fight for freedom” at the Independence Day celebrations in Rio. .

“(September 7) is the time to fight for your freedom..let’s stand up,” the president told viewers in a live address on social media on Thursday.

“If someone is accused of undemocratic conduct, I want to pay for their (legal) defense,” he added, using the same term for attacks on Brazilian institutions and democratic norms. He himself has often been criticized for using it.

The president’s call to action has been widely interpreted as echoing former President Donald Trump’s election rejection rhetoric when he convened his supporters in Washington on January 6, 2021.

“Bolsonaro and Trump share the same authoritarian populist strategy,” says Guillerme Casaroes, a professor of political science at Getulio Vargas University and coordinator of Brazil’s far-right observatory.

“Both have demonstrated a refusal to accept an election result that is unfavorable to them, both have spoken of voter fraud, and both have perpetually agitated radicalized bases. increase.”

He told CNN that if Bolsonaro’s left-wing rival Luis Inacio Lula da Silva finally claims victory in the polls, there is a “real risk” of events like January 6 in Brazil. He said he foresaw the

“I don’t think there will be a military coup on the streets in the classic sense of the word that happened in 1964.”

“What is likely to happen is an attempted coup, some sort of overthrow of democracy, or an attempt to slow down the electoral process by calling into question the legitimacy of the process.”

CNN reached out to Bolsonaro’s office for comment.

Election Paranoia and Fear of Anxiety

Wardir Ferraz, a close friend of Bolsonaro and who organizes the president’s motorcade through Rio, downplays the possibility that the president’s remarks could cause unrest or cause confusion.

He told CNN that the Independence Day festivities in Rio will only show the breadth of Bolsonaro’s support in “a sea of ​​green and yellow.”

However, he said this endorsement was partly motivated by fan anger at being led to believe that the electoral system was tainted, despite a lack of evidence. I acknowledge that it is

“There will be over a million people on the streets of Rio. [Supreme Electoral Court chief] Alexandre de Moraes,” says Ferraz.

Demorais, a longtime bane on Bolsonaro’s side, this month greenlit a search and seizure operation against several businessmen accused of participating in WhatsApp text conversations advocating a coup if Bolsonaro loses the presidential election. has issued, CNN Brazil reported.

Bolsonaro at last year's Independence Day ceremony in Brasilia.

As the rivalry between Bolsonaro and Lula heats up, the incumbent president has frequently made statements among his fans that undermine the legitimacy of the election process. Critics fear it could be trimmed.

The president demanded that some voters be photographed at the ballot box (an idea squashed by the electoral court), and the country’s electronic voting system has been compromised in the past and is now at risk of fraud. The number of frauds in e-voting in Brazil has increased since its inception in 1996. He also suggested that the military should count the votes in parallel to confirm the results.

The military has historically served as an observer in elections, along with representatives of political parties and universities. But as Lula dominates the polls, debates among supporters of a more active role by the Brazilian military have intensified on social media, including calls for military intervention if Bolsonaro loses.

“We don’t trust the results. [if Bolsonaro loses] I would ask the president to request the military to intervene. Note, however, that this is a counter-coup, not a coup, ”he says Roseno.

Brazilian military leader

Against this backdrop, the potential overlap between Independence Day military events and pro-Bolsonaro campaign events may be cause for concern. If the president turns his speech in Rio into a campaign opportunity, the military’s planned warships, parachutists, and his one rifle salute an hour could quickly take on ominous political significance. There is a nature.

“There should be no overlap between national events with large-scale military involvement and campaign events,” Casaroes said.

“An army that should be a national force serving the interests of the government. [The Independence Day events] We will allow Bolsonaro to use military symbols…to give credibility to his presidential candidate,” he added.

Concerned about the possible politicization of Wednesday’s military exercises, Rio Federal Prosecutor’s Office An official letter was sent to the local Army, Navy and Air Command, published Sept. 2, asking how the official Independence Day celebrations would not be confused with partisan political demonstrations.

When asked if it had received a response, the attorney’s office told CNN the military should respond by Wednesday morning.The military did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

A poster of the face of the President of Brazil with the phrase

The lines between his government and Brazil’s military leadership have become increasingly blurred since President Bolsonaro last year issued an order granting public office to active-duty forces.

A former Army captain, the president makes no secret of his admiration for the military. He makes frequent references to the military during the course of his election campaign and does little to avoid appearing to politicize the country’s military.

His running mate is General Walter Braga Netto, an active general. 2020, over 6000 members of his government They were members of the military, according to a report issued by the Federal Court of Audit (TCU).
Brazil could face 'worse' election fears than US Capitol riots, officials warn

Compassion seems to run both ways. The military leadership echoes Bolsonaro’s allegations of electoral fraud and raises its own doubts about the safety of voting on electoral courts.

Defense Minister Paulo Sergio Nogueira de Oliveira said last July that the military leadership did not necessarily question the electoral system, but believed it needed to be improved.

“We are well aware that this electronic system is in constant need of improvement. No program is immune from attack and invasion.”

“We are not doubting or thinking this or that, it’s just a collaborative spirit,” the minister added.

Bolsonaro said earlier this month in an interview with TV Globo’s Journal Nacional that he would accept the results of the upcoming Brazilian presidential election “as long as it is fair and clean.”

His campaign and political allies have also dismissed fan calls for military intervention. For Ferraz, the chatter among extremist Bolsonaro and online in favor of military intervention in the upcoming elections has no real basis. “This is impossible,” he says.

Nonetheless, rally organizer Lozeno insists he expects the worst. If the military does not intervene to ensure Bolsonaro’s reelection, “the people will,” he predicts.

Caitlin Hu of CNN, New York contributed to this report.


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