Protests Break Out in Brazil Against Presidential Candidate Jair Bolsonaro
The front runner of Brazil’s presidential elections, Jair Bolsonaro, faced large protests over the weekend as he returned to Rio de Janeiro from São Paulo after being stabbed a few weeks ago. He was welcomed by tens of thousands of Brazilian citizens who gathered in protest upon his release from the hospital.
Bolsonaro, a far-right candidate for the upcoming presidential elections which are scheduled to take place this Sunday, Oct. 7, was stabbed in the abdomen early last month while campaigning. He was reportedly in serious condition, but has recovered well since then. After the stabbing incident took place, his ratings in opinion polls rose 28 percent.
Not everyone is thrilled about his candidacy, however. Thousands of people from all over the country took to the streets to protest his return. These protests are part of the Ele Não (Not Him) Movement, a movement that originated on social media platforms in protest of Bolsonaro’s candidacy and rising popularity.
Bolsonaro is a highly controversial political figure in Brazil due to his hostile views on homosexuality and various misogynistic comments he has made in the past. For instance, he once told Congresswoman Maria do Rosario, “I wouldn’t rape you because you don’t deserve it.” He went on to say that the Congresswoman was “ugly” and “not his type.”
A few years ago, regarding an event in support of marriage equality, Bolsonaro stated, “I won’t fight against it or discriminate, but if I see two men kissing each other on the street, I’ll beat them up.”
Bolsonaro, sometimes referred to as the Donald Trump of Brazil, is currently leading the polls and has a strong electorate base in his favor. Many Brazilians are drawn to Bolsonaro’s promises of investment in public security and combating crime, proposed economic reforms, and changes to the current governmental structure. In the midst of corruption scandals concerning previous governments, some voters, such as Elias Figueira, are “tired of 25 years of lies from the left.”
Ana Paulo Gonçalves, a 24-year-old teacher, participated in the protests against Bolsonaro. When asked to comment on her motivation to protest she said, “He is sexist. He is misogynist. He is racist.” Christine Gonçalves, another protestor, fears that “he wants to go back to a military dictatorship.”
Yet another protester commented, “The things he says are so grotesque and absurd, I don’t believe he deserves to have a voice in a role so important as the president of Brazil.”