Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro insisted on his verbal onslaught against the Federal Supreme Court (STF) during Tuesday's politically motivated celebrations of National Independence Day.
But all in all, the coup d'etat threats which opposition politicians and media were heralding for Tuesday did not come to happen.
While the main demonstrations in Brasilia and São Paulo were attended by Bolsonaro himself, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians supported their president nationwide in other cities. Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana sidewalks were unrecognizable underscores of Bolsonarists seen on videos that went viral over the Internet.
Speaking in a tone some deemed as undemocratic, Bolsonaro insisted he would never be arrested. I want to tell the scoundrels that I will never be imprisoned, he said from the top of a truck with loudspeakers on Avenida Paulista. I want to tell those who want to see me ineligible, there in Brasilia, that only God can get me out of there, he stressed with regards to Superior Electoral Court (TSE) magistrates who placed him under investigation for alleged irregularities in the 2018 elections.
Bolsonaro was particularly focused on Justice Alexandre De Moraes, who sits on both the STF and TSE and seems to have a personal grudge against the President, which has been reciprocated.
”It is not possible to admit that one person, one man, disturbs our freedom. Telling this minister that he still has time to redeem himself, he still has time to present his apologies. Alexandre de Moraes. Stop being a scoundrel,” Bolsonaro said as he called for “all political prisoners (to be) released and to stop censoring free speech.
Moraes is in charge of an investigation at the STF in which Bolsonaro is suspected of being part of a criminal organization that disseminates false news (fake news”) from an office that would operate in the Planalto Palace itself.
By political prisoners Bolsonaro means the far-right militants who were imprisoned by order De Moraes on charges of inciting a coup d'etat.
De Moraes replied on social media: on this September 7 we commemorate our independence, which guaranteed our freedom and which is only strengthened with absolute respect for democracy.
Bolsonaro also made several references of a nationalist and religious nature, aimed at his many supporters from evangelical churches. This is the awakening of a nation, I am sure that we will be great there ahead ... we will place Brazil in a prominent place in the world, Bolsonaro promised. ”I want to thank all of you, I want to thank God for my life (...) Brazil above all, God above all.
Earlier Tuesday and during his speech in Brasilia, in front of which the palaces of the Presidency, the STF and Congress, Bolsonaro spoke of convening the Council of the Republic, a consultative body that is only summoned in extraordinary circumstances to decree the State of Siege, the State of Defense or federal intervention in a province.
Bolsonaro also had a few words for STF Chief Justice Luiz Fux: We cannot accept more political pressure in our Brazil, or the head of that (Judiciary) does not frame his own or that Branch may suffer what we do not want.”
At 10:30 a.m., Bolsonaro delivered a short speech from an Army truck together with Defense Minister, General Walter Souza Braga Netto, who is regarded as the most Bolsonarist member of a virtual military party loyal to the government.
On the other hand, Vice President Hamilton Mourao, also an Army general, has voiced his differences with Bolsonaro and did not get on the truck in downtown Brasilia.
In a broad sense, Bolsonaro chose to hit the Supreme Court, urging disobedience of its rulings.
Former PT presidential candidate Fernando Haddad, who was beaten by Bolsonaro, said the President's words Tuesday were more than enough to open an impeachment process.