Bolsonaro addresses crowds in Brasília, attacking Justice Moraes

bolsonaro crowds
Crowds cheer as Bolsonaro flies over the Esplanade of Ministries. Photo: Gustavo Ribeiro/TBR

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro addressed protesters gathered in Brasília this morning for the September 7 Independence Day protests, but aerial images broadcast by major news networks during his speech show a reasonably underwhelming turnout in Brazil’s capital — at least in comparison to the major crowds expected by the government and Brazilian press.

“We will not accept any authorities using their power to violate our Constitution,” Mr. Bolsonaro declared. “We will no longer accept any measure or sentence outside the boundaries of the Constitution.”

And in a not-so-veiled reference to Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, Mr. Bolsonaro complained that he has had enough of “one specific person barbarizing our population. We cannot accept more political imprisonments.”

“We don’t want a rupture, we don’t want to fight with power, but we can’t keep allowing one person to cloud our democracy.”

Arriving from an Independence Day flag-raising ceremony outside the presidential residence, Mr. Bolsonaro flew over the crowds in a military helicopter, before joining protesters and delivering a brief speech.

Under the intense Brasília heat, many demonstrators are already beginning to leave the Esplanade of Ministries.

Despite early skirmishes outside the Foreign Affairs Ministry, where pro-Bolsonaro protesters carrying fireworks were forced to retreat by riot police, the anti-democratic demonstration remains largely peaceful.

This afternoon, Mr. Bolsonaro will travel to São Paulo to address protests on Paulista Avenue, the principal thoroughfare of Brazil’s biggest city. The president promised that he is saving a more “robust” speech for demonstrators in São Paulo, expected to take place at around 4 pm.

📺 Watch Live: Join The Brazilian Report editor-in-chief Gustavo Ribeiro, editor Euan Marshall, and columnist Beatriz Rey as they discuss what’s in store for Brazil on September 8 and onward. Tuesday at 7 pm (Brazilian time).