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Bolsonaro calls on military and civilians to fight for freedom

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Jair Bolsonaro (PL) (Photo: Alan Santos/PR)
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President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) has shown that he does not intend to quell clashes with the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), with which he has measured forces over the October elections and prison sentence. Representative Daniel Silvera (PTB-RJ). Yesterday the CEO defended the armed forces and attacked the two courts again. But on the same day, TSE chief minister Edson Fachin emphasized that he would not succumb to pressure. “I speak, yes, my knees are bent to submit, never,” stressed the judge.

At a graduation ceremony at the Baro Branco Military Police Academy in São Paulo, Bolsonaro said they were trying to “steal our freedom”. “We, good people, civilian and military, need everyone to guarantee our freedom, because the criminals of the past use other weapons today, also in air-conditioned offices, with the aim of stealing our freedom,” he said. “We the armed forces, we the auxiliary forces, we will not let this happen. We defend our constitution, our democracy and our freedom. This army of good people, civilian and military, must unite to prevent them from stealing our freedom.”

Without naming names, Bolsonaro said there are people trying to limit freedom of expression, referring to Daniel Silvera, who was sentenced by the STF to eight years and nine months in prison for anti-democratic actions and threats to ministers and court institutions. Less than 24 hours after the Supreme Court ruling, the CEO granted parliament pardon. The president’s comments also refer to fake news and digital militia inquiries being handled by the STF.

Since taking office, Bolsonaro has been accused of rigging the electoral system, without ever providing any evidence. He hints that electoral justice can manipulate the outcome of the elections and suggests that the armed forces conduct a parallel count of votes to add more “transparency” to the process. The military also raised questions about the security of electronic voting machines by asking the court 88 questions about the equipment.

“No excuses”

Hours later, at the Brazilian Congress of Judges, in Salvador, Fachin demanded that “all forces say, without ruse, that they will honor the electoral process in October 2022.” “The constitution does not allow any institution or authority with exclusive powers of electoral justice. We will not allow the electoral process to be sabotaged. Your presidency. I’m debating yes, my knees bent, never,” he said.

Faschin also highlighted that “those who love democracy do not spread conflict.” “Elections are alternative instruments of conflict, which is why it is essential that a sense of institutional responsibility prevail, reviving the constitutional foundation of the noble commitment of all institutions, all, without exception, to the service of Brazilian democracy.”

The judge also noted attacks on the press and the performance of digital militias. “They say I talk about ghosts. Violence has a type and degree. Violence in Brazil is tragic. Disinformation has a name and an origin. It’s not a ghost. We’re incredibly watching the normalization of attacks on institutions, driven by disinformation practices,” he noted. On Thursday, Bolsonaro said he did not know “where (Fachin) the specter that the armed forces want to interfere with electoral justice came from.”

Also taking part in the event in Bahia, Minister Los Roberto Barroso, of the STF, stated that democracy is undergoing “a process of erosion worldwide” and said work must be done to restore it.

Barroso cited countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey, Russia, the Philippines, Venezuela, Nicaragua and El Salvador as authoritarian governments, as well as recent “unrest” in the United States and the United Kingdom. Without naming Brazil or Bolsonaro, he noted that Democrats need self-criticism to restore order in the world.

“The rise of the authoritarian and populist process is due to the inadequacy of democracy itself. Therefore, those who advocate democracy need to identify and work to re-establish this belief that unites all,” he said. “We have to restore a minimum of intellectual honesty, a minimum of honesty to the facts. The Brazilian democracy movie is good. Sometimes the shooting is scary, but the movie is good. I was careful not to say anything controversial here because times are not right. To argue.”

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