185,000 Bolsonaro supporters stage rally to defend him amid coup investigations

World 16:15 26.02.2024

Supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro staged a huge rally jamming a main avenue in Brazil's biggest city Sunday to defend him against legal challenges that could put him in jail, Ednews reports citing Euronews.

The far-right leader said in a speech that he seeks "pacification to erase the past,” taking a more conciliatory tone than when he was in office.

Bolsonaro is seeking to show his base is resilient as he is being investigated by federal police over his alleged role in the Jan. 8, 2023, attacks on government buildings by his supporters over his election loss. He wants the dozens of people still in jail for those incidents to get pardons. Bolsonaro is also accused of illegally receiving jewels from Saudi Arabia during his presidency.

His supporters filled blocks of the city's Paulista Avenue. Independent observers from a research group at the University of Sao Paulo estimated 185,000 people joined in. Brazil's military police put the crowd size even bigger. Many of the participants complained Bolsonaro is being persecuted by Brazil's Supreme Court and claimed President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva unfairly won his narrow victory in the 2022 election.

Some also carried Israeli flags as a show of defiance to the current president, who has received widespread criticism at home for comparing Israel's military offensive in Gaza to the Holocaust.

“What I seek is pacification, it is erasing the past,” Bolsonaro said in a speech as he held an Israeli flag himself. “It is to seek a way for us to live in peace and stop being so jumpy. Amnesty for those poor people who are jailed in Brasilia. We ask all 513 congressmen, 81 senators for a bill of amnesty so justice can be made in Brazil.”

 

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