New protests for and against Bolsonaro flare in Brazil

Brasilia/Rio de Janeiro/Sao Paulo, June 7 (efe-epa).- After the riots last Sunday, several demonstrations in favor and against the president of Brazil were held again this Sunday without serious incident.

However, at around 21:30 GMT, two hours after anti-government and anti-racist protests in Sao Paulo ended, “a group of hooligans” attacked the police with stones and set up barricades in the Pinheiros neighborhood, in the west of the city.

“There was a small group that dispersed (at the end of the demonstration). It was the acts of vandals, not protesters,” said Emerson Massera, spokesman for the Sao Paulo Military Police in television statements.

“These infiltrators” also attacked some bank offices, added Massera, who highlighted the peaceful nature of the protest.

The riot police used tear gas grenades while dozens of residents of Pinheiros were hitting saucepans at their homes, apparently against how the agents handled the situation.

The protests brought together significant crowds in several cities of the country, which is experiencing an escalation of the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 646,000 confirmed cases and more than 35,000 deaths, the South American giant is second in number of infections and third in number of deaths in the world, amid a dispute over the recording of data.

The federal government estimates that deaths from COVID-19 are lower than those reported by regional and municipal authorities, while these authorities claim that infections and deaths are much higher than those officially published.

In the capital, Brasilia, hundreds of opponents of the president gathered in front of the National Library and from there they marched to the Ministries Esplanade, the administrative headquarters of the government.

The demonstration, which brought together around 3,000 people, was called by pro-democracy and anti-fascist movements that denounce an authoritarian lean of President Jair Bolsonaro.

They were joined by anti-racism protesters, who added to the international outrage sparked by the death of African-American George Floyd in the United States at the hands of a white police officer.

Speaking to EFE, Daniel Sarampo, a fan of Sport Club Corinthians Paulista in Brasilia, indicated that the anti-Bolsonaro movement that emerged a week ago aims to “retake the streets” to “eliminate the extreme right.”

At the other end of the Ministries Esplanade, a group in smaller numbers that usually performs caravans and walks on weekends in favor of the far-right leader, gathered wearing their usual Brazilian soccer team jerseys and carrying the country’s flag, and this time, symbols of the monarchy.

Minister of the Institutional Security Office Gen. Augusto Heleno greeted some of the supporters and members of the security forces who prevented the two demonstrations from meeting.

Bolsonaro, meanwhile, went outside Alvorada Palace, his official residence, to greet some of his supporters without wearing the coronavirus protection mask as recommended by health authorities.

After he lost two health ministers and the justice minister over disagreements during the epidemic and amid judicial investigations against him and his children, Bolsonaro’s popularity is at its lowest of his one-and-a-half years as leader, although he still has a third of the electorate.

In Rio de Janeiro, the president’s defenders marched in the vicinity of Copacabana beach and in Sao Paulo they met on Paulista Avenue, where last Sunday two riots clashed and resulted in several people injured.

The small pro-Bolsonaro group marched in Sao Paulo and was joined by participants such as Jonny, a 37-year-old micro-entrepreneur who declared himself in favor of a military intervention with Bolsonaro at the helm.

“I fight against corruption, of all governments, especially now that corruption is emerging between governors and mayors, the Supreme Court, Congress and the Senate. I want the Army, led by Bolsonaro, to intervene and arrest all those corrupt,” he told EFE.

From the Largo da Batata public sqaure in Sao Paulo, the place chosen by opponents of the president due to the judicial decision that prohibited both sides from meeting again on Paulista Avenue, the anti-fascist, anti-racist and fans of soccer clubs who declared themselves as pro-democracy gathered about 3,000 people, the vast majority protected by masks.

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