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Trouble for Bolsonaro: Brazilian Political Leaders Launch Pro-Democracy Manifesto

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Jair Bolsonaro

In a bid to secure democracy in Brazil in the wake of President Jair Bolsonaro’s authoritarian management of the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, prominent political leaders of the country on Saturday published a high-profile manifesto – Movimento Estamos Juntos (We’re In This Together Movement). The manifesto urging Brazilians to work and defend their right to “life, freedom, and democracy”, came into existence after the country became the latest epicenter of the pandemic outbreak with over 5 lakh cases in the world.

From leading Brazilian politicians such as former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso to popular actors including Taís Araújo and Fernanda Montenegro have shown their support to the manifesto – which has over 100,000 signatories joining in so far. Flávio Dino, the governor of Maranhão state and a leftist supporting the movement, called for unity of political leaders from left, right, and centre in order to throw out Bolsonaro in the next elections for the survival of democracy in the country.

According to Flávio Dino, the movement is inspired by Diretas Já, which is a landmark pro-democracy campaign that was launched in the 1980s to end two decades of military rule, demanding direct presidential elections in Brazil. Amid the surging COVID-19 infections in the South American country, President Bolsonaro’s handling of the pandemic has met with severe criticism from all sections of the society.

From flouting social distancing norms in public appearances to failing to appoint a permanent health minister, Bolsonaro’s authoritarian decision-making has intensified Brazil’s political crisis during the global health emergency. Not only this, the Brazilian President on Sunday rallied on a horseback without wearing a mask along with supporters protests against the Supreme Court for investigating the right-wing leader.

Groups opposing and supporting President Bolsonaro have engaged in violent clashes in the past few days with police resorting to using severe measures such as tear gas to tackle the demonstrators. On Sunday, clashes erupted in Brazil’s largest city Sao Paulo between Bolsonaro supporters, who were demanding the closure of Supreme Court and Parliament, and the opposition group defending democracy in the country. 

According to a recent poll, support for Jair Bolsonaro has dropped significantly due to increasing criticism against his handling of the pandemic crises. However, he still has over 35% Brazilians backing his governance.

Brazilian Coronavirus crisis has further deepened with over 5 lakh infected cases and over 29,000 deaths, making it the second worst-hit country in the world after the United States (as per worldometers.info).

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