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Bolsonaro supporters are becoming increasingly violent amid pandemic

. May 30, 2020
Brazilian photographer Dida Sampaio is pushed off of the top of a ladder by supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a protest. Photo: Ueslei Marcelino via Getty Brazilian photographer Dida Sampaio is pushed off of the top of a ladder by supporters of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during a protest. Photo: Ueslei Marcelino via Getty

Three months after the first Covid-19 case was recorded in Brazil, tensions around the best approach to handle the public health crisis are becoming increasingly violent. A Financial Times report uncovered threats received by top health officials and researchers in the country. “People were saying that they were going to kill me, that they were going to kill my family, so I would know what it was like to lose someone,” said Marcus Lacerda, an infectious disease expert. He carried out a study questioning the efficacy of antimalarial drug chloroquine against Covid-19, describe the menaces.

In federal capital Brasília, police indicted three people who assaulted health workers on May 1. The crime took place during a pro-social isolation protest carried out by nurses at the Three Powers Square — where the presidential palace, Supreme Court, and Congress buildings are, after pro-Bolsonaro supporters disrupted the rally.


Beyond health professionals 

Healthcare workers are not the only group who have been targeted by the president’s supporters — and President Jair Bolsonaro himself. This week, Folha de S.Paulo, Globo, and Bandeirantes, some of Brazil’s largest media groups, decided to stop sending reporters to the presidential palace, for safety reasons. Verbal attacks against the press — including threats of aggression — have become an everyday affair for journalists covering the government.

Earlier this month, photographer Dida Sampaio, who works for newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, was assaulted by a pro-Bolsonaro mob during a rally.

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Augusta Saraiva

Augusta is a Brazilian journalism student at Northwestern University

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