During an event to award medals to military athletes who competed at the Tokyo Olympics, President Jair Bolsonaro declared that “if you want peace, prepare for war.” He added that “you can’t win the war with flowers.”
His words come just six days before his supporters are set to stage sizable protests in São Paulo and Brasília — which are expected to be heavily charged with anti-democratic rhetoric. Multiple caravans are heading to both cities, and many expect military and police officers could join the protests — despite the fact the law prohibits them from taking part in political rallies.
Last week, Mr. Bolsonaro told supporters that “everyone must start buying rifles.”
In Brasília, political stakeholders fear the demonstrations will turn into violent riots. The Senate’s Covid hearings committee will not hold any sittings next week, and the Supreme Court is about to launch a procurement process to enhance the security detail on two of its justices.
Speaking to our Explaining Brazil podcast, political scientist Beatriz Rey says the September 7 events will play a pivotal role in the short-term political future of the country — either emboldening Mr. Bolsonaro’s ambitions for more extreme actions or, in the case they flop, creating conditions for other branches of government to move against him.