A crowd of Bolsonaro supporters ‘Bolsonaristas’ gathered last Wednesday in front of the headquarters of the Eastern Military Command (CML), in downtown Rio de Janeiro, in an attempt to overthrow the election results by demanding military intervention.
Similar protests took place in São Paulo and other cities, with protesters carrying Brazilian flags and shouting slogans against President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT).
"I hope the Army interferes in this situation. We know that these elections were rigged," said Reinaldo da Silva, 65, a retired civil servant, in front of the Southeast Military Command in São Paulo.
Protesters in the state of Santa Caterina gave the Hitler Salute in conjunction with Bolsonaro supporters all over the country. Israel and Germany criticized the move which was an insult to the world with relevance to World-War-II when Nazis condemned millions of Jews and exterminated 6,000,000 of them during the war.
For months, Bolsonaro has fueled distrust in the Brazilian electoral process with repeated attacks, without evidence, against the reliability of electronic voting machines. On Sunday, he saw his re-election bid fail with Lula winning by a narrow margin in the second round of the election.
In Rio de Janeiro, two lanes of one of the main avenues in the central region of the city were taken by protesters wearing shirts from Brazil and the Brazilian football team, a mark of acts favorable to President Jair Bolsonaro.
The Federal Supreme Court (STF) has already ruled, in different cases, that article 142 does not allow the Armed Forces to act as a kind of “Moderating Power”.
In response to a request for comment by Reuters, the Defense Ministry said it "understands that demonstrations, provided they are orderly and peaceful, are the exercise of freedom of expression of thought and assembly, in accordance with constitutional principles and current laws".
Paulo Chagas, a retired general who campaigned for Bolsonaro in 2018, said in a message to Reuters that "the military know very well what they call duty".
Prof. Carl Boniface