Brazilians protest for democracy as Bolsonaro threatens election


The protests take place amid concerns that Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro could refuse to accept election results.

Thousands of Brazilians flocked to a law school Thursday in defence of the nation’s democratic institutions, an event that carried echoes of a gathering nearly 45 years ago when citizens joined together at the same site to denounce a brutal military dictatorship.

In 1977, the masses poured into the University of Sao Paulo’s law school to listen to a reading of “A Letter to Brazilians”, a manifesto calling for a prompt return of the rule of law. On Thursday, they heard declarations defending democracy and the country’s elections systems, which far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly attacked ahead of his bid for reelection in October.

While the current manifestos do not specifically name Bolsonaro, they underscore the country’s widespread concern that the far-right leader may follow in former US President Donald Trump’s footsteps and reject election results not in his favour in an attempt to cling to power.

One manifesto read at Thursday’s event garnered more than 800,000 signatures and warned that Brazilian democracy was under threat.

“We are at risk of a coup, so civil society must stand up and fight against that to guarantee democracy,” Jose Carlos Dias, a former justice minister who helped write the 1977 letter and the two documents read Thursday said.


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