Brazilian lorry drivers were placing their vehicles to block the country's main roads in the sign of protest as well as in support of President Jair Bolsonaro after Tuesday's speeches during the Independence Day celebrations.
Nevertheless, Bolsonaro himself thanked the truckers for their support but asked them to lift the measures in place in at least 15 States, according to the Infrastructure Ministry. In most places, only small cars, emergency vehicles and loads of perishable food were let through.
The Ministry explained protests had been detected in Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, Espírito Santo, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Tocantins, Rio de Janeiro, Rondônia, Maranhão, Roraima, São Paulo and Pará.
The drivers were demanding the removal from office of all Superior Federal Court (TSF) judges and in some cases, they were also pressing for the “dissolution” of Congress.
Blockades were carried out at 117 points, although with varying intensity. In some cases they were only concentrations of people and in others, there had been total or partial blockades of the roads.
In social media postings, protesters insisted on the sacking of the magistrates to put an end to their demonstrations and blockades.
In a video broadcast on social media, a protest leader warned things would escalate from the early hours of Thursday. “Now it is to block everything. Starting tomorrow, only ambulances, medicine and oxygen pass by. Nothing else, said Ze Trovato, who insisted the STF was “playing with democracy.”
The biggest protests were directed against the Parliament and the Supreme Court, whom Bolsonarism accuses of obstructing the government. The president himself led the demonstrations in Brasilia and Sao Paulo, where he went so far as to urge his followers to disobey some of the Supreme Court's rulings.
That statement was repudiated by all political parties, Congress and the Supreme Court, whose president, Luiz Fux, assured that no one will close that court and warned that failure to comply with sentences is a crime that, in the case of Bolsonaro, could lead to impeachment.
The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, led on Tuesday when Independence Day is celebrated, a massive demonstration called in defence of freedom” but in which demands with undemocratic overtones stood out.
During his speech before thousands of people in Brasilia, Bolsonaro once again threatened the Supreme Court, which has opened an investigation against him for spreading false information and threatening democracy.
In Santa Catarina, roadblocks were registered on five highways: BRs 282, 101, 116, 280 and 470. In the first of them, there were no longer restrictions at 4 pm Wednesday.
In the Rio Grande do Sul, there were 11 mobilizations on nine federal and state highways. A separate demonstration by indigenous peoples made matters worse in that particular State on Highway BR 386, where traffic stopped and released every 30 minutes.
In Maranhão, in addition to supporting Bolsonaro, truckers were also asking for a reduction in taxes on fuel.
In Espirito Santo, there were concentration points for truck drivers on the BR-101, BR-262, BR-447 and BR-482 highways, but without stoppages.
In Minas Gerais, only trucks were halted while light vehicles were allowed to pass by with no record of total blocking.
In addition to these states, there were also protests in Paraná, Mato Grosso and in the Ourinhos region, in São Paulo.