(Update 1: adds Bolsonaro intervention)
Brasilia, Sep 9 (EFE).- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday asked truck drivers to free up roads they had blocked across the country to demand the dismissal of Supreme Court judges.
Bolsonaro said the protests were hurting the already battered Brazilian economy, causing supply shortages and inflation, in an audio recording distributed to the pro-government truckers, local media reported.
“Tell the truckers that they are our allies, but the blockades hurt our economy. It causes supply shortages, inflation, it causes harm to everyone, especially the poorest,” said Bolsonaro, who led mass protests in Brasilia and Sao Paulo on Tuesday.
Police said there were blockades in at least 15 of Brazil’s 27 states.
Protesters were calling for the “dissolution” of Congress and a reduction in fuel prices, in addition to the removal of the 11 magistrates.
Lawyer Erick Carvalho, who defends Marcos Antonio Pereira, a truck driver accused of promoting antidemocratic acts and whose arrest was ordered by the Supreme Court last week, said that on Wednesday he intended to present to the Senate a request with a view to the removal of the magistrates.
“I already have the message from the truckers and there will be a stoppage, a strike. We tried to resolve it peacefully, but they do not want an agreement,” he said.
Pereira, who is also known as Ze Trovao, has led the calls for a transporters’ strike.
In a video released Wednesday on social media, the fugitive warned that the road protests will intensify from the early hours of Thursday to “block everything.”