World

Day of violence feared in Brazil as Bolsonaro supporters block roads over Lula victory

Supporters of Jair Bolsanaro have blocked roads across Brazil, with some gathering outside military bases demanding a coup and claiming Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva’s election victory is illegal and fraudulent.

Ultra-loyal followers of the hard-right leader say they’ll never accept left-wing Lula as their new president. In protest, nationwide protests are planned on Friday to coincide with Brazil’s Dia de Finados, or Day of the Dead, when huge crowds take to the streets.

Mr Bolsonaro has not conceded the election since he lost 50.9 per cent to 49.1 per cent on Sunday. There were reports he is preparing to accept the result, but it had not happened by Tuesday afternoon.

A number of the populist’s senior allies have accepted the loss and are urging him to follow suit. However, some observers believe he is waiting to see how protests unfold before making a final decision.

The roadblocks, around 350 of them so far, were mainly put up by truckers who have been a powerbase for Bolsonaro and have benefited from low diesel prices under his administration. Police cleared some of the barriers but there was also footage on social media of them helping to set them up at a few places.

Federal Highway Police (PRF) officers have been accused of attempting voter suppression by carrying out spurious traffic stops in the northeast of Brazil where Lula’s party has the greatest support. Silvinei Vasques, director of the force, posted on social media urging Brazilians to vote for Bolsanaro.

The president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), Alexandre de Moraes, has asked for an urgent explanation.

The highest number of blockades were in Santa Catarina, a state where Bolsonaro has a massive support base, and Mato Grosso do Sul, with many others in Parana, Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Goias and Bahia.

In the capital, Brasilia, police shut off traffic access to the central government esplanade after reports Bolsonaro supporters were planning to occupy the square in front of the Supreme Court which, they claim, has been favouring Lula in its judgments.

The road to the airport in Sao Paulo city was briefly blocked before being reopened.

Lula, who is due to be inaugurated on 1 January, said there is an urgent need for Bolsonaro to accept the will of the people: “I need to know if the president we defeated will let there be a transition.

“We need to start preparations to govern this country.”

He repeated his pledge to unite a divided nation, saying: “I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, not just for those who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.”

Flavio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, claimed before the vote that his father would be the victim of “the greatest electoral fraud ever seen”.

In a tweet after the result, he added: “Thank you to everyone who helped us rescue patriotism, who prayed, prayed, went to the streets, gave their sweat for the country that is doing well and gave Bolsonaro the biggest vote of his life! Let’s raise our heads and not give up on our Brazil! God in command!”

Military police fire at a roadblock by Bolsonaro supporters on the BR-116 highway in Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil

Pro-Bolsonaro truckers block a highway near Sao Paulo, Brazil on Tuesday

Bolsonaro supporters near Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport on Tuesday

Xural.com

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