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Montevideo, February 4th 2023 - 03:01 UTC



Brazilian police disperse road blockades

Wednesday, November 2nd 2022 - 10:40 UTC
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(PRF) Director Silvinei Vasques was ordered to do whatever it took to clear the roads or be fined or even jailed for disobedience (PRF) Director Silvinei Vasques was ordered to do whatever it took to clear the roads or be fined or even jailed for disobedience

Brazilian law enforcement officers were summoned to disperse the numerous roadblocks mounted by lorry drivers and other supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro who insisted Sunday's elections had been tampered with and that Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's victory was a fraud.

In his brief speech Tuesday, Bolsonaro insisted he would not oppose protesting but that he would always stay within the four walls of the Constitution and would therefore not endorse violent methods like the ones his political rivals use.

Read also: Bolsonaro avoids talking about defeat but will begin the transition to Lula this week.

The highway leading to São Paulo's Guarulhos airport, the largest in the country, was blocked causing cancellations and delays in some flights.

Using tear gas, highway police shock troops attempted to disperse a protest in Novo Hamburgo, on the outskirts of Porto Alegre, an AFP photographer noted.

“At the moment we are with 267 active blockade points” and other roadside demonstrations, reported Marco Antônio Territo de Barros, executive director of the Federal Highway Police (PRF), who said more than 300 events had already been put to an end since Sunday.

In Sao Paulo, the road blockade affected passenger transport at a major bus terminal, where police were trying to negotiate the exit of demonstrators carrying signs reading “Lula no!”.

Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes shared a video in which the Municipal Guard is shown using pepper spray to disperse a group of protesters. “Here there is respect for the laws,” Paes wrote.

Minas Gerais Governor Romeu Zema, a political ally of Bolsonaro, also ordered local security forces to break up blockades in that state. “The election is over, we have to ensure everyone's right to come and go,” Zema tweeted.

The police interventions occur after a supreme court judge determined the “immediate unblocking of highways and public roads.” Calls to support the blockades multiplied on Twitter and in Bolsonarist groups on Telegram, AFP's digital investigation team found. A pamphlet circulating on networks calls for a protest on the Esplanade of the Ministries in Brasilia in the afternoon.

Brazil's Supreme Federal Court (STF) threatened to fine or incarcerate Highway Police (PRF) Director Silvinei Vasques if roadblocks and traffic jams persisted. The uproar escalated when local media reported that Vasques had posted on his Instagram profile a message calling to vote for Bolsonaro, which he later deleted.

The state that registered the most blockades was Santa Catarina (south), where Bolsonaro obtained almost 70% of the votes.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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