March 31, 2023

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They are asking the military to keep Bolsonaro in power

The armed forces in Brazil have been quiet since the return of Lula da Silva.

Thousands of supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday called on the military to keep the far-right president in power, even as he prepares to hand power to his leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

The president’s supporters gathered in the rain outside the Eastern Military Command in Rio de Janeiro, one of the army’s eight regional headquarters, raising fists, waving flags and chanting slogans such as “armed forces save Brazil” and “people, unite”. will never be defeated.”

For their part, truck drivers, who have been protesting Bolsonaro’s defeat for days, have been dismantling them in defiance of a Supreme Court order.

Meanwhile, endorsements of Lula’s victory and the Supreme Court’s recommendation for Bolsonaro to accept Saturday’s election results are pouring in from around the world.

Cabinet ministers, elected governors and evangelical leaders who have been strong supporters of Bolsonaro are open to an incoming left-wing government.

The armed forces, which played a major role under Bolsonaro, have remained silent since the first round of elections, a sign they are distancing themselves from their former captain, experts told The Associated Press.

“In a democracy, the armed forces have no say in the electoral process,” said Eduardo Munhos Zwartman, president of the Brazilian Association for Security Studies. “This silence is desirable.”

Bolsonaro lost a very close race with 49.1% of the vote against da Silva’s 50.9%. It was the closest result Bolsonaro has suffered since Brazil’s return to democracy in 1985, the first election loss of his 34-year career.

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The outgoing president took two days to address the nation, and there was speculation that he would contest the decision after repeatedly questioning the credibility of the electoral system ahead of the election.

In a less than two-minute speech from the presidential palace on Tuesday, he stopped short of conceding da Silva’s victory but said he would obey the constitution. He encouraged protests until his supporters remained calm.

Many of his supporters dispute the results, and truckers supporting the president have set up hundreds of roadblocks across the country. On Wednesday, the highway police said they had put up 630 barricades and 150 more.

At a roadblock in Sao Paulo state on Tuesday, protesters set tires on fire. A very long line of cars could be seen moving slowly along the highway. In Itaboral, Rio de Janeiro state, an AP journalist saw truck drivers kneeling before police and refusing to leave.

Sao Paulo Governor Rodrigo García said the time for talks was over and did not rule out removing the blockade by force.

But Bolsonaro’s supporters continue to protest. Users of social networks such as Telegram and WhatsApp circulated demands for the army to take to the streets, to dissolve Congress and the Supreme Court, and for the president to remain in power.

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