Sao Paulo, Aug 20 (EFE).- Former two-term President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Saturday that the Brazilian people are “tired” of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and will oust him in the Oct. 2 election.
“Prepare yourself Bolsonaro. Don’t be afraid of Lula, because it will be the people who are going to remove you from the presidency,” the candidate of the center-left Workers Party told thousands of supporters in Sao Paulo.
The venue for Lula’s first major event of the campaign, which officially began on Tuesday, was the city’s working class Vale de Anhangabau neighborhood, where a multitude gathered in 1984 for a protest against the 1964-1985 military regime.
Polls show the former president with a lead of 15 percentage points over the rightist Bolsonaro, a fervent admirer of the junta that ruled Brazil for more than two decades.
“Today there are 33 million people who don’t have enough to eat,” even though Brazil “is one of the world’s largest food producers, and that cannot be explained,” Lula said, pointing to recent news stories about people foraging for eggs in garbage dumpsters.
“To govern is to take of people … above all the neediest,” he said from the stage where he was accompanied by the heads of the nine parties making up the broad progressive coalition the 76-year-old former auto worker and union leader has assembled in his bid for a third term as president.
He also took the opportunity to address, albeit indirectly, rumors circulating on social media that he plans to order all of Brazil’s churches closed if he wins the election.
“That religious question is so fashionable now. There is a lot of religious ‘fake news’ and many demons being treated like God and many demons making the churches a political platform,” Lula said.
“The state has no religion, but it must defend all religions,” he added. “And the church cannot have a political party nor shelter the false prophets and Pharisees who deceive the people of God.”
Noting the polls, he urged his supporters not to flag in their resolve, “because we have not won anything yet.”
“It is 43 days to the elections. I can’t visit every home or talk to everybody, but you speak for me,” Lula told the crowd. EFE ed/dr