The tension did not dissipate until late at night. All afternoon, Tuesday, September 7, helicopters flew over the surroundings of Paulista Avenue, the famous artery of Sao Paulo. According to the police, 125,000 people gathered there during the day to listen to Jair Bolsonaro. On the decline in the polls, the far-right president, present in Brazil’s main city, was greeted with the national anthem and cries of support – “The captain is here! “ – referring to his military past.
Almost a year from the presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro is already crying fraud. Anticipating his defeat – widely announced – against the favorite in the polls, the former left-wing president Lula, he defends the paper vote.
→ READ. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro threatens a coup on National Day
While the electronic ballot system works in Brazil, he tried to pass a law so that every voter leaves with a paper receipt after their vote. “When we buy something, we leave well with a ticket, so why not when we vote? “, abounds Isaura Diogo, 74, who came by bus from Piracicaba, in the interior of the State of Sao Paulo, with a procession of 350 people.
All united against the Supreme Court
In the eyes of Jair Bolsonaro, the scapegoat of the moment is the Supreme Court (STF), which has opened several investigations against him and his entourage, mainly for non-respect of democratic institutions and promotion of false information, which could make him ineligible. .
→ EXPLANATION. Brazil: electronic voting, a new target for Jair Bolsonaro
“We want clean, verifiable elections with public vote counting. I cannot participate in a farce like the one promoted by the Higher Electoral Court ”, launched the president, in front of the crowd of his supporters. “I want to say to those who want to make me ineligible in Brasilia: only God will remove me from here! ” He said: “I will never go to prison”, and promised that Brazil “Would be a great country again”, echoing Donald Trump’s Make America Great Again.
The parallel does not end there. As early as Monday evening, in Brasilia, demonstrators had forced a police blockade to access the esplanade leading to the STF: images that recalled the spectacular invasion of the Capitol, in Washington, on January 6.
“We can’t say anything more”
Jair Bolsonaro also signed a decree, Monday 6, which modifies the rules of moderation of content on social networks, hampering the fight against infox. Even if it has yet to pass to Congress, this text feeds the accusations of censorship of which the Head of State claims to be a victim every time the platforms delete false information, in particular on the pandemic, which he publishes regularly.
For his supporters, the bias of traditional media is not in doubt. “We can no longer say anything, the conservative sites are persecuted. Fortunately, I keep up to date thanks to the President’s Twitter account and to very good quality YouTube channels ”, says Fernando. Catholic and anti-abortion, this insurance broker displays unwavering determination. “How to be against someone who defends the country, the family and God? “, he asks in concert with his wife, Cristiana, both dressed in the yellow jersey of Brazil.
“I don’t want my grandchildren to hear about sex at school, with this ambient moral liberalism”, insists Isaura, who will vote Bolsonaro again in 2022, because ” thanks to God “, she always voted on the right. Arrived with her children of 4 and 6 years old, Damares Moreira, head of human resources, regrets that the national anthem is no longer taught at school. His daughter knows him by heart, and drops her little mask to prove it.
“I am here to celebrate the independence of Brazil and to assert our freedom in the face of the Supreme Court”, she explains, happy to be able to tell a foreign newspaper that the current government is ” resistant “ and that the “Brazil is stronger than what they say”. Only a conviction for corruption would make him review his vote in 2022, she blows.
The next presidential election in Brazil will be held in October 2022. According to a poll published in mid-August, former President Lula is credited with 40% of the voting intentions, against 24% for Bolsonaro.
Aimed by several Supreme Court inquiries, especially for disseminating false information, the current president has never been so unpopular. In the latest survey from the Atlas Institute, on September 6, its rejection rate reached 61%.
In the Senate, a Commission of Inquiry scrutinizes its management of the pandemic in a country where 584,000 people have died from Covid-19 and where 31% of the population is vaccinated.
The economic situation is also worrying : record unemployment rate (14.7% last May), rising gasoline and staple food prices …