The turn that Independence Day will take this year in Brazil is totally unpredictable. President Jair Bolsonaro, whom the tumble in the polls pushes to remobilize his base, has promised that crowds “Gigantic” would come to support it, on the occasion of the national holiday, Tuesday, September 7.
But his opponents will also take to the streets to shout « Out of Bolsonaro! » (« dehors Bolsonaro ! »), worried about the threats posed to democracy by the far-right president, who opened a serious institutional crisis by declaring war on the Supreme Court.
Important security measures are in place in large cities, primarily in Brasilia, then in Sao Paulo, in order to avoid any overflow. Processions of Bolsonarists and anti-Bolsonaro should not meet. In theory.
But from Monday night to Tuesday, hundreds of supporters of the far-right head of state, in trucks and other vehicles, have “Broken the barriers of restraint” and entered the avenue leading to Congress and the Supreme Court (STF), which was closed to traffic for security reasons, police said in the capital.
Hundreds of coaches to Sao Paulo
It was in Brasilia and Sao Paulo that the former parachutist called on his supporters to mobilize en masse and give voice. Bolsonarist social networks have beaten the recall of troops. Hundreds of coaches of Bolsonaro sympathizers are due to converge on Sao Paulo.
In the morning, a brief ceremony is scheduled when the Brazilian flag is hoisted at the Alvorada Palace, the residence of the Head of State. He should then go to the demonstrators gathered on the emblematic Esplanade of the Ministries of Brasilia.
At the end of this esplanade, the Place des Trois Pouvoirs, where the Parliament and the Supreme Court are located, will be completely cordoned off, to prevent acts of vandalism inspired by the invasion of the Capitol in the United States last January.
In videos posted on social networks and taken up by local media, however, we can see a small caravan of vehicles arriving on the Esplanade of the Ministries, applauded by demonstrators on foot waving Brazilian flags: “We have just entered! The police could not restrain the people! And tomorrow we will invade the STF! “one of them shouts.
An “ultimatum” for the Supreme Court
It is the afternoon in Sao Paulo, the largest metropolis in Brazil, that Jair Bolsonaro hopes to gather the greatest number of supporters: he has announced that he is counting on “Two million people” on Paulista Avenue, where he is expected to deliver his most heated speech. The main anti-Bolsonaro procession must leave three kilometers away, at Vale do Anhangabau, in the city center.
Last Friday, the far-right president did not hesitate to say that this day of mobilization would constitute a « ultimatum » for the Supreme Court. On Saturday he went even further, raising the possibility of a « rupture » institutional.
On Monday, more than 150 intellectuals and political figures from 26 countries, including the former Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero, the American philosopher Noam Chomsky or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of rebellious France, denounced in an open letter a “Imminent threat to Brazilian democracy”. In Brazil, security specialists fear in particular the presence of armed military police during demonstrations.
Police officers on the street on their day off
According to a poll published on Sunday by the daily Or Balloon, 30% of these police officers intend to take to the streets Tuesday, even if the regulations forbid them to take part in political demonstrations, including during their days off.
Last week, Jair Bolsonaro sharply criticized judges and state governors who plan to punish police officers present to support him during the September 7 processions. ” It’s a crime [d’interdire les manifestations de policiers], worthy of a dictatorship. They want the movement to be less important, while a plainclothes policeman on leave can help to carry out the security of the event ”, he said.
Badly in the polls, where he is largely left behind by the left-wing ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in the voting intentions for the 2022 election, the ex-army captain is playing his part. all Tuesday. “He knows that the success of the demonstrations could give him a break”, believes Geraldo Monteiro, political scientist at Rio State University.
Jair Bolsonaro is also targeted by several investigations by the Supreme Court, in particular for the dissemination of false information. In the Senate, a Commission of Inquiry has been scrutinizing for several months its management of the pandemic, deemed chaotic by specialists, in a country where more than 580,000 people have died from Covid-19.