Thousands of Brazilians rally to support Bolsanaro as ex-president denies coup allegations

On Sunday, thousands lined Sao Paulo's iconic Paulista Avenue to rally in support of Jair Bolsanaro as authorities dig deeper into whether he should be held criminally responsible for his alleged role in what many deem to have been an attempted coup on January 8, 2023.

The former president, who led Brazil from 2019-2022, dismissed the allegations leveled against him, telling his supporters they were a politically motivated "lie" being pushed by his successor, Lula.

"What is a coup? Tanks in the streets, weapons, conspiracy," Bolsanaro said, per Al Jazeera. "None of that happened in Brazil ... We cannot accept that an authority can eliminate whoever it may be from the political scene, unless it is for a fair reason."

He also called on the current government to move past the events of January 8 and forgive those who descended upon the presidential palace, Supreme Court, and Congress that day.

"What I seek is pacification. It is erasing the past," Bolsonaro pleaded. "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 Brasilia. We ask all 513 congressmen, 81 senators, for a bill of amnesty so justice can be made in Brazil."

The former president, who was in the United States when the January 8 demonstrations took place, has been accused of editing a draft decree in an effort to overturn the results of the 2022 election, pressuring military chiefs to join a coup attempt, and plotting to jail a Supreme Court justice, among other things. Earlier this month, authorities seized his passport.
 

Sporting a Brazilian football top, Bolsanaro went through a laundry list of his accomplishments as president and decried the state of affairs under Lula. He drew particular attention to the far-left leader's decision to side against Israel in its war against Hamas, and the prevalence of gender ideology infesting classrooms across the country.


Image: Title: Bolsanaro
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