Brazilians across the country are calling on their fellow citizens to join mass demonstrations Tuesday against this month’s widely contested election in honor of Proclamation of the Republic Day. The national holiday, held every November 15th since 1889, commemorates the day when the Republic of Brazil was proclaimed after a military coup d'état overthrew the monarchy.
Widespread claims of fraud in Brazil’s presidential election earlier this month, in which Left-wing ex-convict Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ousted incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro, sparked large-scale protests across the country which are about to enter their third week.
Lula, who spent 580 days in prison for corruption, won the most votes in the country’s history, but also by the narrowest margin for a presidential election in the country’s modern history. Now many Brazilians are contesting the legitimacy of the election, citing independent analyses by the electoral authorities which found that machines that were not audited had a statistically significant difference (p=10-18) in voting outcome in favor of Lula, amounting conservatively in the 1st round to 2.4% of the votes transferred and, in the 2nd round, 3.3%.
Protests erupted across the country following the results, with hundreds of thousands of Brazilian citizens blocking roads and even surrounding army barracks as they demand military intervention in election fraud. Law enforcement personnel have reportedly joined in the protests.
Though the demonstrators are ignored by mainstream media and face criminal charges for questioning the election results, they are calling on others to join them in honor of Tuesday’s national holiday, issuing a "National call for the largest protest in the history of the country” on social media.
Soon after the protests began, Bolsonaro opponent and Superior Electoral Court (TSE) President Alexandre de Moraes announced that anyone who questioned the election results would be treated as a criminal in the name of democracy.
"There is no way to contest the democratically obtained result with illicit, anti-democratic and criminal movements, which will be fought and held accountable. Democracy has won again in Brazil [...] This is democracy, this is alternation of power, this is a democratic state, and those who criminally are not accepting it will be treated as criminals and their responsibilities will be established," threatened Moraes, according to Brasil Sem Medo.
Moraes made good on his word when he ordered Professor Marcos Cintra, an economist with four Harvard degrees who sits on the faculty of the prestigious Fundação Getúlio Vargas institution, to report to law enforcement last week after posting his doubts about the election results online. Moraes also slapped Professor Cintra, who is not a Bolsonaro supporter, with a R$20,000 (US$3, 798) fine.
Last week, journalist Glenn Greenwald reported that two of the country’s most popular congressional candidates, both Bolsonaro allies, have been banned from social media on Moraes’ orders.
Nikolas Ferreira, who won 1.5 million votes – the most nationwide – and Brazil’s third most popular candidate, Carla Zambelli, were both suppressed due to “disinformation”.