In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro salutes his supporters defying social distancing

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Brazilian Head of State Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday greeted hundreds of people who came to support him outside the presidential palace, defying health standards to fight the Covid-19, which killed more than 16,000 people in the country according to official figures.

Jair Bolsonaro has never hidden it: he is against confinement and the social distancing measures put in place to fight against the Covid-19 in Brazil. Sunday, May 17, the Brazilian president demonstrated it once again, haranguing his supporters who came to support him in front of the presidential palace in Brasilia, in defiance of sanitary standards.

“It is very gratifying to receive a demonstration of support (…), it strengthens us,” said the far-right leader after approaching his supporters grouped behind a metal barrier.

The episode was broadcast on social media by the accounts of the president, who wore a mask and was accompanied by several ministers.

Over 16,000 Covid-19 dead

Jair Bolsonaro continued this weekend to criticize the containment measures and to advocate the use of hydroxychloroquine, without saying a word about the victims of the epidemic. Brazil is the fourth country in the world in terms of the number of people infected (241,080) and officially has 16,118 deaths, figures that scientists consider largely underestimated compared to reality.

Several governors and mayors have alerted to a public health system on the verge of suffocation and are defending containment measures. And it is their authority that applies: the Supreme Court said last month that local authorities had the upper hand to decide on measures to fight the epidemic.

A decision that does not please everyone. During demonstrations in favor of Jair Bolsonaro, which took place in the capital but also in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, some demanded a military takeover and the closure of the parliament. Appeals condemned by six former Brazilian Defense Ministers. “Any call and any solicitation to the armed institutions with a view to breaking the democratic legality (…) deserves the most vehement condemnation”, is it written in a text signed by ministers of presidents Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016) and Michel Temer (2016-2018).

With AFP

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