The political role of Brazil’s football ultras

Anti-government protests led by anti-fascist supporters of Brazil's biggest football clubs set aside years of rivalry to back a single cause

The political role of Brazil's football ultras
Ultras for democracy. Photo: Pam Santos/FP

Political tensions in Brazil were taken up a notch on Sunday, as protesters for and against the Bolsonaro government clashed on the streets of São Paulo. On one side, there were demonstrators in support of the current administration, who have flouted social isolation measures on a weekly basis to demand the closure of Congress and the Supreme Court. This time, however, they were confronted by an anti-fascist march “in favor of democracy,” headed by organized groups of supporters of São Paulo’s biggest football clubs, representing a show of unity between factions that are traditionally fierce rivals.

The protest was...

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