Thousands of Brazilians took to the street amid fear of botched election results in October. People fear that President Jair Bolsonaro will try to stay in power even if he loses October’s election.
The protests happened in several cities. Crowds protested in the cities of Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, and Recife. In addition, thousands gathered outside the University of São Paulo. People read out the petition “in defense of the democratic state of law”.
Mr. Bolsonaro has repeatedly tried to discredit Brazil’s voting system. For example, he claimed that electronic voting machines enable cheating. In addition, he believes that election results get rigged due to the absence of a paper trail.
Mr. Bolsonaro even tried to change the system to introduce printed ballot papers. Congress rejected the proposal.
Mr. Bolsonaro’s critics claim that the President might follow in the footsteps of former US President Donald Trump. He might allege widespread fraud if he loses in the next elections.
The demonstrations were held on the same day as when a citizens’ manifesto was read out and signed by a million Brazilians.
The declaration of 1977, which denounced Brazil’s dictatorship, inspired the citizen’s manifesto. The manifesto warned the people of the dangers of dictatorship.
People held up banners denouncing Mr. Bolsonaro and protested with signs that read “respect the vote, respect the people”. Some people were even dressed as electronic voting machines. It was in reference to the president’s claims of fraud due to EVMs.
Many of his rivals have signed the petition, including leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The ex-President also tweeted: “Our country used to be sovereign and respected. We need to get it back.”
The president, who has been in office since 2019, denounced the petition. He also tweeted that the constitution was the only letter that mattered in guaranteeing democracy.
However, a recent opinion poll held in Brazil claimed that the far-right leader was trailing by 19% points behind his main rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
In a rally at the Maracanãzinho stadium, Mr. Bolsonaro again claimed that Brazil’s voting system is “flawed”.
The first round of elections will be on 2nd October. A second round will also happen on 30 October if none of the candidates gets 50% of the votes.