Thousands of people demonstrated this Sunday in Brazil in support of President Jair Bolsonaro and to protest against the electronic voting system in force since 1996.
In Rio de Janeiro, around 3,000 people marched on Copacabana beach, most without masks and dressed in yellow and green, the colors of the Brazilian flag.
“What we want is for the votes to be publicly recounted, for there to be more transparency, because there have already been suspicions of fraud“Ronaldo Calvalcante, a 46-year-old man who was demonstrating in Rio, told AFP.
President Bolsonaro, who is seeking re-election in 2022, does not ask that the ballot papers be returned, but rather that a receipt be printed after each vote in the electronic ballot box, so that they can be physically counted.
For analysts, what the far-right leader is doing is preparing the ground to challenge the outcome in the event of defeat, as did former US President Donald Trump, of whom Bolsonaro is a fervent admirer.
The president did not participate directly in the demonstration, which also brought together several thousand people in Brasilia, but gave a speech by videoconference in which he reiterated that would not accept elections that were not “fair and democratic”.
He added that he will do “whatever is necessary” to impose the printing of paper receipts for electronic voting.
In the afternoon, he also addressed thousands of protesters gathered in Sao Paulo, the country’s largest city.
“The will of the people must prevail. I hope that after this demonstration this will become a fact in Brasilia “he declared, alluding to the vote scheduled for Thursday in a legislative committee on a bill that seeks to approve the printing of paper receipts by electronic ballot boxes.
On Thursday, during his weekly Facebook Live, the head of state spoke for more than two hours about his conviction that there was fraud in the last two presidential elections, stating that he should have won in the first round in 2018.
But did not present any proof of these scams, while the Superior Electoral Tribunal (TSE) ensures that the current system is completely transparent and has never been clouded by irregularities.
Three weeks ago, Bolsonaro had already aroused controversy when he sowed doubts about the holding of the 2022 elections. “Either we make proper elections in Brazil, or there will be no elections“, He said.
He described the president of the TSE, Luis Roberto Barroso, as an “imbecile”, who estimates that the printing of paper receipts could expose the vote “to the risks of manipulation of the past”.
“Strictly electronic voting is theft! Voting with printed receipts is not complicated, people will adapt“Said Roxana Guimaraes, a 45-year-old nurse, in one of the demonstrations this Sunday.
Last weekend, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Brazil to demand the removal of President Bolsonaro, widely criticized for his handling of the covid-19 pandemic, which has left more than 550,000 dead in the country.
(With information from AFP)