Bolsonaro supporters reject Lula's clear presidential victory in Brazil

In an historic victory, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the Brazilian presidency on Sunday night, defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by more than 2 million votes. Tens of thousands of Lula supporters poured onto São Paulo’s Paulista Avenue for a huge victory celebration. But Bolsonaro fans have also taken to the streets blocking highways and rejecting the result. Lula takes office on January 1st.

Studio/Post-Production: Michael Fox


Transcript

Michael Fox:  It was a party to cap all parties. 

Bystander:  Lula!!

Michael Fox:  Tens of thousands in the street. Brazil had a new president-elect. His name — Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula’s supporters poured onto São Paulo’s Paulista avenue Sunday night.

Everton Fialho & João Mariano: We can’t be divided. We need unity. We have to come together. Enough homophobia and racism. We want to be free!

Michael Fox:  He defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. It was a hard-fought election. Marred by disinformation, fake news, vote buying, and even alleged voter suppression. But Lula still won by 2 million votes

Crowd:  Long live democracy! Down with fascism!

Michael Fox:  In his acceptance speech, Lula said it was a victory for Brazilian democracy. 

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva: On this historic October 30, the majority of Brazilians made it very clear that they want more democracy and not less. They want more social inclusion and not less. They want more respect and not less. They want more freedom, equality, and fraternity.

Micahel Fox:  But Bolsonaro remained silent. His supporters and far-right truckers took to the streets, blocking highways.

Protester:  October 30. The vote count has just ended. The Brazilian people know they have suffered a serious coup, and we’re not going to accept it. We’re shutting things down.

Michael Fox:  They blocked more than 200 roads across Brazil for the next two days, including the main thoroughfare into the country’s busiest airport, Guarulhos, outside of  São Paulo. Flights were canceled. Federal police stood aside. Finally, on Tuesday, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes authorized the necessary use of the military police to clear the highways. Roads have begun to be opened.

Bolsonaro finally spoke on Tuesday afternoon, though he said very little. He did not recognize the results, nor acknowledge Lula’s win. But his chief of staff Ciro Nogueira said the president had authorized him to begin the process of transition to the next government. It is a welcomed sign. 

But on Wednesday, Bolsonaro supporters rallied outside military barracks around the country, calling on the armed forces to intervene. There were particularly concerning images from protesters in the Southern state of Santa Catarina.

Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has asked his supporters to stop blocking highways. 

Jair Bolsonaro:  It’s not cool to shut down roads around Brazil. They harm people’s constitutional rights.

Michael Fox:  People hope the tensions will calm over the next two months ahead of the president-elect’s inauguration on January 1, when Lula and his supporters expect another momentous celebration on the streets of Brazil.

Michael Fox

Michael Fox is a Latin America-based freelance multimedia journalist, filmmaker, radio reporter, and former editor of NACLA. Follow Michael on Twitter.