September 10, 2018 01:30 PM NPT
BRAZIL, Sept 10: Supporters of far-right presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro yesterday demonstrated in support of the frontrunner, who is convalescing after being stabbed while campaigning several days before.
Bolsonaro is hospitalized in the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, which yesterday said his condition is improving but that he was still receiving nutrients intravenously.
The 63-year-old remains in intensive care as the perforations of his intestines keep doctors watching for any internal infections. The hospital said he was spending more time out of bed.
“Bolsonaro was stabbed because he is already elected,” Flavio, one of the candidate’s sons, told some 2,000 cheering supporters at Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana beach.
He wore the same shirt — yellow with the words “My party is Brazil” — that his father had on when he was stabbed in the abdomen on Thursday during a rally in Juiz de Fora.
The Bolsonaro supporters said a prayer for the candidate’s health and then went into a loud rendition of the Brazilian national anthem.
“I am totally sure that he is the only one who can repair this country and end corruption,” Nilce Ferreira, wearing a Brazilian national team jersey, said at Copacabana.
Another gathering of “Bolsonaristas” — this one in Brasilia — was attended by almost a thousand people, according to media estimates.
A left-wing activist knifed Bolsonaro in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais on Thursday. Police said they are continuing the investigation and no clear motive for the stabbing was yet known.
It was the latest in a series of bizarre twists in Brazil’s presidential contest, from which the most popular candidate, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, was disqualified because he is serving a jail sentence for accepting a bribe, leaving Bolsonaro the frontrunner.
Bolsonaro has for years angered many Brazilians with extreme statements on race, gender and sexual preference, but is also seen by his many supporters as an outsider who could clean up a broken system.
He has caused a number of scandals, such as in July when he appeared in a viral video seemingly showing a young girl how to imitate a gun with her hands. “Kids in Brazil need to view weapons as something linked to responsibility and the protection of life,” he told O Globo newspaper in justifying his actions.
Such statements turned Bolsonaro into a target for many of his rival candidates.
Surveys consistently give Bolsonaro, a member of the Social Liberal Party, around 22% in simulated first-round votes. However, those polls find he would badly lose to most rivals in the likely event of a runoff, which takes place if no candidate wins a majority in the first ballot.