Brazil election: Hundreds rally against far-right Bolsonaro

Demonstrators march in Sao Paulo against far-right frontrunner candidate, chanting “dictatorship never again”.

Demonstrators in Brazil
There is a growing uneasiness among Brazilians against Bolsonaro, who has expressed nostalgia for Brazil's military dictatorship [Amanda Perobelli/Reuters]

Hundreds of Brazilians took to the streets in Sao Paulo and marched against far-right, frontrunner presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro during a protest they called “dictatorship never again”.

Demonstrators, mostly supporters of the leftist Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL) danced and shouted “Ele Nao” – meaning “Not Him!” – in response to Bolsonaro’s views on women, the LGBT community, black people and indigenous people.

Bolsonaro scored an emphatic victory in the first round of the presidential election held on Sunday and opinion polls indicate he is on track to beat his leftist rival from the Workers’ Party (PT), Fernando Haddad, in the October 28 run-ff vote.

During the protest, Silvia Ferraro, a leader of the PSOL, talked about the attacks some Haddad supporters and others who demonstrate against Bolsonaro were suffering in recent days.

Ferraro told the story of a 19-year-old girl who was attacked and marked with a swastika for wearing a t-shirt that read “Ele Nao” (“Not Him”).

Other cases of violence have been reported in the local media, such as the killing of a PT supporter in Salvador, Bahia state, after a discussion with a Bolsonaro supporter.

There is a growing uneasiness among Brazilians about Bolsonaro, a former army captain who has expressed nostalgia for Brazil’s military dictatorship.

“I was really sad when I voted, I cried because of what is going to happen in this country,” Caroline Salgao, an anti-Bolsonaro voter, told Al Jazeera.

Bolsonaro still the favourite

A survey released on Wednesday by Datafolha firm confirmed Bolsonaro’s advantage for a second round, crediting him 58 percent of voter intentions to 42 percent for Haddad.

But not all are good news for the leader.

The candidate recently sent a chill through investors. Just last week they had sent Brazilian markets soaring on his promise to implement free-market reforms to Latin America’s biggest economy, long run on a protectionist, statist model.


However, in an interview with Band TV on Tuesday, he said his privatisation pledge would not extend to the core business of oil company Petrobras or electricity generation activities. 

Shares in state-run electricity company Eletrobras plummeted 8.4 percent and Petrobras slumped 2.9 percent by the end of trade.

The overall Ivobespa stock market index finished almost three percent down, and the Brazilian real fell against the dollar.

His chief economic advisor, Paulo Guedes, has also been targeted in a federal fraud probe into alleged mismanagement in investment firms he ran, involving pensions funds linked to state-run companies. 

The case has the potential to hurt support for Bolsonaro who has campaigned on an anti-corruption and anti-crime platform to voters tired of waves of corruption allegations against business executives and politicians.

“Traditional politicians lie and steal from the people, the car wash corruption scandal has shown us that they are all the same,” Rene Sale, a Bolsonaro supporter told Al Jazeera.

‘I won’t stress him’  

PT’s Haddad is pressing for a televised debate against Bolsonaro.

But his doctors said he was still not sufficiently recovered to take part in Thursday’s debate. He has skipped other debates since being stabbed at a September 6 campaign rally before the opening round of the presidential contest.

It is not mandatory for Brazilian presidential election candidates to participate in debates.

Haddad told reporters that he would go to a hospital to debate Bolsonaro if needed.

“He has to debate. I am willing to go to a hospital to debate him,” Haddad said. “He said he doesn’t want to be under stress. I will not stress him. I will speak in the calmest way possible. I won’t raise my voice. I won’t even look at him if that is something that worries him.”

Bolsonaro, meanwhile, jabbed at Haddad on Twitter, calling him a “puppet of a jailed crook”.

“Your time is coming,” the frontrunner candidate wrote to Haddad.

Since winning the first round, his communication has been mostly via social media and interviews with friendly media outlets.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies