Truckers planned to halt Brazil for Bolsonaro, but failed

truckers brazil bolsonaro
Truck drivers during the September 7 protests. Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro/TBR

In WhatsApp and Telegram messaging groups, supporters of President Jair Bolsonaro shared posts today describing a coordinated effort by truckers to block multiple federal roadways and call for the president to “intervene in the Supreme Court.”

While there are indeed truck drivers trying to stage new demonstrations, they are few and far between. Akin to the September 7 protests incited by Mr. Bolsonaro, this truckers’ strike failed to deliver on its promises and engaged fewer people than expected.

According to the government’s own data — based on information relayed by the Federal Highway Patrol — only 56 partial blockages were reported, all of which will be cleared by the end of the day. Despite claims on social media that Brazil would be brought to a “standstill,” none of the blockages were able to completely halt traffic and impede cars and trucks from passing.

In 2018, truck drivers around the country switched off their engines for 11 days. Roadways were blocked and goods did not leave storage depots. Quickly, several regions suffered fuel and food shortages.

Highway authorities added that protests were not coordinated by truck drivers’ unions and are unrelated to the sector’s demands. Most blockade attempts came in the southern state of Santa Catarina, known as being a trustworthy source of support for President Bolsonaro.

Yesterday, organizations linked to the National Cargo Road Transport Council filed a lawsuit against Mr. Bolsonaro, the federal government, and Bolsonaro-supporting militants for potential damage caused to cargo due to inciting protests.