Brazilians march in defence of democracy over Bolsonaro election fears




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-12 09:03:26Z
  • By BBC
A Brazilian flag is spread on the ground during a democracy demonstration in Sao Paulo
A Brazilian flag is spread on the ground during a democracy demonstration in Sao Paulo  

Thousands of Brazilians have taken to the streets amid concern President Jair Bolsonaro will try to stay in power even if he loses October's election.

Protesters marched in several cities on Thursday in defence of democracy over fears the far-right leader would not respect the outcome of the vote.

Mr Bolsonaro has repeatedly sought to discredit Brazil's voting system.

He has claimed that electronic voting machines enable cheating, because of the absence of a paper trail.

A year ago, Mr Bolsonaro tried to change the system to introduce printed ballot papers, but the proposal was defeated in Congress.

Critics of the president have voiced fears that he is preparing to follow the example of former US President Donald Trump and allege widespread fraud if he loses the election.

The demonstrations came on the same day that a citizens' manifesto was read out and signed by a million Brazilians.

The manifesto, inspired by a declaration from 1977 denouncing Brazil's dictatorship at the time, warned that the country's democracy was facing great danger.

  • Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro launches re-election bid

  • Brazil leader's plan for printed ballots defeated

Crowds protested in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Recife, while thousands gathered outside the University of São Paulo, where a petition "in defence of the democratic state of law" was read out.

People held up banners denouncing Mr Bolsonaro and proclaiming "respect the vote, respect the people", while some were dressed as electronic voting machines, in a reference to the president's cheating claims.

The president, in office since 2019 and flagging in opinion polls, denounced the petition, tweeting that the constitution was the only letter that mattered in guaranteeing democracy.

Several of his election rivals have signed the petition, including leftist ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who tweeted: "Our country used to be sovereign and respected. We need to get it back."

Crowds gather outside the University of Sao Paulo
Crowds gather outside the University of Sao Paulo's Law School  
Protesters on the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Protesters on the streets in Sao Paulo, Brazil  
People stage a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
People stage a demonstration against Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro  
A man dressed as an electronic ballot box takes part in a protest in Sao Paulo
A man dressed as an electronic ballot box takes part in a protest in Sao Paulo  
Protesters wave fire torches during night-time demonstrations in Sao Paulo
Protesters wave fire torches during night-time demonstrations in Sao Paulo  
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