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Brazilians March to ‘Defend Democracy’

#Brazilians #March #Defend #Democracy

Thousands of Brazilians took to the streets in several cities on Thursday in “defense of democracy” amid ongoing attacks on the electoral system by President Jair Bolsonaro weeks before the elections.

The demonstrations were prompted by fears that the far-right leader, who is lagging behind in opinion polls, would not respect the outcome of October’s vote as he repeatedly seeks to cast doubt on Brazil’s electoral system.

“After 200 years of independence in Brazil, we should be thinking about our future… but we are focused on preventing a regression,” University of Sao Paulo rector Carlos Gilberto Junior told a gathering of hundreds of academics, business and academics union leaders and members of civil society.

Thousands held up banners in front of the campus denouncing Bolsonaro and proclaiming: “Respect the vote, respect the people.”

Some were disguised as electronic voting machines, the exclusive use of which Bolsonaro says makes cheating easier.

“Our president has already indicated that he will do everything to prevent elections,” 62-year-old architect Sabrina Cunha told AFP.

“I was from the student movement during the military dictatorship (1964-1985), I know what to expect,” she added.

A video was shown at the university assembly in which Brazilian artists read from a petition “in defense of the democratic rule of law”.

The document, which was also read at King’s College London, has garnered more than 900,000 signatures.

“We are witnessing a moment of great jeopardy to democratic normality, a risk to institutions, with hints of non-compliance with election results,” the text reads.

Several of Bolsonaro’s election competitors have signed the petition, including left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who tweeted on Thursday: “Our country was once sovereign and respected. We have to get it back.”

For his part, Bolsonaro tweeted: “Today, on behalf of Brazil, a very important act took place, which is of great importance to the Brazilian people: (State-owned oil company) Petrobras has again reduced the price of diesel.”

Demonstrations also took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Recife.

“It’s been four years of suffering… the moment is now: organize ourselves so that he (Bolsonaro) doesn’t win,” said Mayrla Silva, a 24-year-old student from Brasilia.

– “Unprecedented Moment” –

Voters in Brazil cast their ballots electronically at polling stations.

But Bolsonaro has long advocated that a hard copy be made of every vote cast, suggesting the lack of a paper trail allows for fraud.

He has presented no evidence of fraud and the Supreme Electoral Court insists the system is fair and transparent.

Last month, Bolsonaro reiterated his claims at a meeting with foreign ambassadors, later prompting the US embassy to say Brazil’s electoral system is a “model for the world.”

His repeated attacks have led analysts to fear Bolsonaro may refuse to accept defeat like his former American counterpart Donald Trump, whose supporters stormed the US Capitol after losing the 2020 election to Joe Biden.

Bolsonaro has also criticized the judges of Brazil’s Supreme Court.

Several Brazilian business associations have issued public letters expressing concern about the state of affairs, including the Brazilian Bankers Federation (Febraban) and the Sao Paulo State Industry Federation (Fiesp).

Brazil is witnessing an “unprecedented moment when capital and labor come together to defend democracy,” former justice minister Jose Carlos Dias said of the movement.

The criticism from the economy is considered a setback for Bolsonaro, who drew a lot of support from it when he was elected in 2018.

According to the latest Datafolha opinion poll, released July 28, Bolsonaro is 18 points behind Lula, the favorite to win the election with 47 percent of declared support.

Social Tags:
#Brazilians #March #Defend #Democracy

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