Senator Omar Aziz of Amazonas, who presides over the hearings committee investigating the government’s pandemic response, opened today’s session by addressing the military parade ordered by President Jair Bolsonaro just outside Congress. The head of state planned the show of force on the same day as the House is set to bury his proposal to reinstate paper ballots in Brazil.
“It is unacceptable and absurd,” he said. “This is not just inconsequential theatrics, but rather a frontal attack on democracy that must be repudiated.” While reading a prepared opening statement, Mr. Aziz added that “the Armed Forces have a role to defend democracy — not threaten it.”
Pro-government senators who are part of the committee tried to downplay the episode, arguing that Brazilians have more important things on their plate — such as the pandemic, job crisis, and rampant inflation. Still, Mr. Aziz urged Congress to take action and “not let this afront go without response.”