Written by Jake Johnson | Common Dreams | November 02, 2022
A huge crowd of defeated Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters rallied outside one of the national army’s headquarters on Wednesday to demand a military coup to nullify the right-wing incumbent’s loss and prevent President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva from taking power.
The Associated Press reported that thousands attended the rally, where Bolsonaro loyalists chanted “Armed forces, save Brazil!” and carried signs demanding a “federal intervention” following the president’s narrow defeat in Sunday’s runoff election.
The demonstration came a day after Bolsonaro, in his first public remarks since his defeat in Sunday’s contest, refused to directly concede defeat but pledged to “follow all the commandments of our constitution,” a signal that he would allow the presidential transition to move forward.
In recent weeks, Bolsonaro has repeatedly and baselessly warned of election fraud and hinted that he would not willingly leave office, in some cases invoking support among Brazil’s military.
“The army is on our side,” Bolsonaro said during a July campaign event.
But AP noted that while “the military has taken on an ample role under Bolsonaro,” it “has remained silent in the month since the first round of the election, a sign it is likely distancing itself from the ex-army captain.”
Bolsonaro reportedly met with the heads of the Brazilian Navy and Air Force on Tuesday as his supporters wreaked havoc on the nation’s streets, setting tires on fire and blocking roads.
During his brief public statement, Bolsonaro said his supporters’ actions stemmed from “indignation and a feeling of injustice about how the electoral process played out.”
Thomas Traumann, a Brazilian journalist and political analyst, told The Guardian on Tuesday that he believes Bolsonaro “is clearly afraid of prison… so what he’s trying to do is negotiate with the only card he has left, which is big street protests.”
The Guardian noted that “after leaving power Bolsonaro, could find himself exposed to a multitude of possible investigations and charges relating to fake news, anti-democratic behavior, alleged corruption, and his handling of a Covid pandemic which killed nearly 700,000 Brazilians.”
“On Tuesday night, Bolsonaro was reportedly locked in talks with at least six members of the supreme court as part of that supposed negotiation,” the newspaper reported. “One prominent political journalist, Guilherme Amado, said the president planned to ‘request that neither he nor his family be persecuted’ once he stepped down.”