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Brazil's Former President Jair Bolsonaro Denies Coup Attempt as He Addresses Supporters at Huge Rally

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Mr Bolsonaro is currently facing a series of legal battles and the risk of being imprisoned due to these allegations.

On Sunday, former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rallied in the streets of São Paulo along with tens of thousands of his loyal supporters amid allegations that he attempted to orchestrate a coup following his narrow defeat to left-wing politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the 2022 elections.

Mr Bolsonaro, earlier this month, was forced to surrender his passport during a police raid at his holiday home in Mambucaba, a historic coastal village 126 miles west of Rio de Janeiro. He called the rally last Sunday to deny charges of attempting to organise a coup along with allegations of pressuring high-ranking military officials to join in.

“What is a coup? Tanks in the streets, weapons, conspiracy. None of that happened in Brazil,” he said to an estimated crowd of 185,000 on Paulista Avenue, as he strongly denied the allegations.


“We cannot accept that an authority can eliminate whoever it may be from the political scene, unless it is for a fair reason,” Mr. Bolsonaro said. This was in retaliation to the election ban, which now sees him unable to run for office until 2030.

In the 20-minute speech, he refrained from talking ill of the Supreme Court with allies concerned before the event that any criticism of the Brazilian authorities or institutions could land him in further trouble.

Despite being barred from office until 2030, he also used his speech to talk about the next presidential elections in 2026. He previously claimed that during the last election, electoral fraud was committed despite there being no evidence.


During the speech, he also called for amnesty for people who took part in the January 8, 2023, riots. “What I seek is pacification; it is erasing the past,” Mr. Bolsonaro said in his speech. “It is to seek a way for us to live in peace and stop being so jumpy. Amnesty for those poor people who are jailed in Brasília. We ask all 513 congressmen and 81 senators for a bill of amnesty so justice can be made in Brazil.”


Mr Bolsonaro was also seen waving an Israeli flag in a show of defiance to the widespread criticism being received by the current president, who compared the Israeli military offence in Gaza to that of the Holocaust.


The demonstration was described as a "beautiful celebration of democracy" by far-right evangelical pastor Silas Malafaia, a close ally and supporter of Mr Bolsonaro and the official organiser of the event. Mr. Bolsonaro's supporters trekked from all over the country in support, with Antonio Carlos, a 76-year-old veteran activist stating "We couldn't let our captain down at such a difficult time for him!"  

With huge crowds turning up sporting the colours of Brazil’s flag, it is evident that Mr Bolsonaro's message still resonates with the Brazilian people. This rally showed that he still holds a considerable amount of political strength in a deeply polarised Brazil. 


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