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Brazil’s Bolsonaro calls mass Rio rally amid legal woes

Messenger Sports

Published: 10:19, 7 April 2024

Brazil’s Bolsonaro calls mass Rio rally amid legal woes

Photo : Collected

With legal challenges looming, Brazil's ex-president Jair Bolsonaro called Saturday for a mass rally on Rio's famed Copacabana beach later this month to highlight the strength of his support. The April 21 rally would come after a Sao Paulo gathering in February that researchers said attracted some 185,000 people.

"We are going to follow up what happened in Sao Paulo ... and deliver news about our democracy and rule of law," Bolsonaro said in a video shared on his social media accounts.

Brazilian authorities are investigating whether the former far-right leader fomented a "coup attempt" to prevent his 2022 election opponent and current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from assuming office in January 2023.

As part of that inquiry, police confiscated Bolsonaro's passport on February 8.

He has already been barred from public office for eight years for baselessly trashing Brazil's voting system ahead of the 2022 elections. Federal police last month also recommended he be charged for falsifying his Covid-19 vaccination records.

Bolsonaro spent two days at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia in February, but his lawyers denied he was seeking refuge from legal probes.

The New York Times had reported that the former leader "hid" at the diplomatic compound, but his lawyers said Bolsonaro was merely spending time with officials from the "friendly country" -- led by fellow far-right leader Viktor Orban.

Bolsonaro has denied all charges against him, saying he is a victim of "persecution."

Like Donald Trump in America, the 69-year-old Bolsonaro has retained a core of diehard supporters in a deeply divided country even as the accusations and investigations against him multiply.