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Brazil: what happened on 7 September?

Glen Greenwald explains the context behind the pro-Bolsonaro protests across Brazil

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Glenn Greenwald looks behind the hype surrounding September 7th’s large, but ultimately anti-climactic pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations which took place in Brasilia, São Paulo and other cities against the country.

Billed by both pro- and anti-Bolsonaro supporters as a critical day for democracy in the country, in the event the demonstrations, though large and vocal, remained mainly peaceful. None of the feared invasions of government buildings took place. The constitution remained in place. The military did not come onto the streets.

On the other hand, Bolsonaro issued very explicit and direct threats, in particular stating that the only way he could be removed from the Presidential Palace in Brasilia was by being imprisoned or killed. He could not, he implied, lose the presidential elections in 2022 — this was impossible.

Greenwald centres the actions of Bolsonaro and his family on the vital importance to them of avoiding the widespread corruption investigations that are honing in on the undisclosed and unexplained sources of their vast wealth — when Bolsonaro himself and his sons have spent most of their careers as city councillors and members of congress, and have no inherited wealth nor any substantial business interests.

The principal target of the Bolsonaros is the Federal Supreme Court and, in particular, one of the justices, Alexandre de Moraes. The Bolsonaros accuse him of acting unconstitutionally, and Greenwald believes that they have a point: he has ordered the imprisonment (without trial) of a considerable number of key Bolsonaro supporters and at least one congressman.

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