Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro got a rousing reception from tens of thousands of people gathered in the capital on Tuesday in a show of support for the country’s leader who is embroiled in a fierce fight with the Supreme Court.
“We will no longer accept that any authority, using force, goes above the constitution,” Bolsonaro said in a speech before thousands of supporters in Brasilia. “The Supreme Court lost the minimum conditions to continue within that tribunal.”
He has been ratcheting up his rhetoric in recent months, sparring with the country’s top court over what he says are rulings beyond the justice’s authority.
He’s been targeted by investigations authorised by the top court for spreading falsehoods and he faces a Senate probe for alleged irregularities in the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
on Monday night, on the eve of the mass protests, supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro pushed through police barriers to advance towards Congress in Brasilia.
Trucks honked their horns as hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters dressed in the green-and-yellow national colors cheered them through.
But they failed however to reach their target of surrounding the Supreme Court, which some demonstrators have planned to occupy in a protest modeled on the January 6 assault on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
The square of the Supreme Court building remains closed off by barriers and a line of police, the city’s security department said.
Ahead of planned demonstrations more than 150 left-leaning former presidents and party leaders from across the globe signed an open letter criticizing Bolsonaro for encouraging what they called an imitation of the January 6 storming of the US Capitol, staged by Trump supporters after he gave a speech falsely claiming his election defeat was the result of fraud.
The demonstrations are “stoking fears of a coup d’état in the world’s third-largest democracy,” the letter said.
Bolsonaro said on Friday the demonstrations will be an ultimatum to the Supreme Court justices who had taken what he called “unconstitutional” decisions against his government.
The court has authorized investigations of Bolsonaro allies for allegedly attacking Brazil’s democratic institutions with misinformation online. He has called the court-ordered probes a violation of free speech rights.
Congress and the courts also resisted Bolsonaro’s attempt to introduce paper voting receipts as a backup to an electronic voting system which he says is vulnerable to fraud. The electoral court maintains the system is transparent and safe.
Bolsonaro’s critics say he is sowing doubts so he can challenge the results of next year’s election, which opinion polls now show him losing to former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Financial, industrial and agribusiness leaders have also distanced themselves from Bolsonaro’s attacks on the Supreme Court and called for dialog between the executive and judiciary.