Breaking quarantine has become President Jair Bolsonaro’s weekend tradition. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Brazil, the president has attended anti-democratic and anti-quarantine protests almost every weekend. Despite being criticized by members of his cabinet and former supporters, the president has refused to change his behavior, even after Brazil became the fourth country with the most Covid-19 cases in the world. True to form, this morning Mr. Bolsonaro joined a crowd of supporters in front of the presidential palace.
A few hundred meters away, another group of pro-Bolsonaro supporters staged a barbecue. Last week, the president had promised to throw a barbecue himself at the presidential residence, but backpedaled after an intense backlash.
Accompanied by 10 of his 22 ministers, the president told demonstrators that he felt honored by this “pure manifestation of democracy.”
“The federal government has given all the support to help people who have contracted the virus and we hope to get rid of this issue soon, for the good of all of us,” the president said, adding that he is sure “Brazil will come out of this stronger.”The president, who has been criticized — and even investigated — for encouraging anti-democratic protests, reminded those gathered that “this time there is no sign, no flag against the Constitution or democracy.” Before the president arrived, Planalto employees urged protestors to take down signs attacking Congress and the Supreme Court.