SAO PAULO/BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro will not contest his election defeat, addressing the nation later on Tuesday, Communications Minister Fabio Faria told Reuters. Told.
The presidential speech was accompanied by pro-Bolsonaro truckers calling on him to defy the election victory of leftist Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, as well as his support blocking highways in many states across Brazil. It may soften the protests by some.
Bolsonaro has so far made no public statement about the election results and has not called Lula after Sunday’s vote.
Bolsonaro’s political allies, including Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira, have already started contacting the Lula camp to discuss the transition. Some, including the speaker of the House of Representatives, have said publicly that the Bolsonaro government should respect the election results.
The truckers who benefited from Bolsonaro’s lower diesel costs are one of the president’s key constituencies and have previously disrupted Brazil’s economy with highway closures.
Brazilian supermarket lobbies reported supply problems due to protests and appealed to Bolsonaro to resolve the situation before store shelves began to empty.
The Supreme Court has ordered police to lift numerous blockades that have prevented access to major grain export ports, closing the nation’s largest airport and beginning to affect food and fuel shipments.
The highways blocked by Bolsonaro’s supporters included a major road used to move grain from farmlands to ports and a major road connecting the two largest cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
The main access road to Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos International Airport was temporarily blocked by dozens of demonstrators, and 25 flights were canceled, according to the airport. But Governor Rodrigo Garcia said the highway reopened Tuesday morning.
“We honest Brazilians oppose the return of that gang that looted our treasury,” said Lula, who was plagued with corruption during his presidency from 2003 to 2010. Truck driver Vando Soares said.
“We won’t move until we stop that bandit from being president,” he said.
Another protester, Niele Souza, said he thought Bolsonaro was waiting to see how the demonstration would go before addressing the country.
Lula’s victory would mean a stunning comeback for the 77-year-old former metal worker who ruled Brazil from 2003 to 2010 but was later jailed on a corruption conviction and later revoked.
Lula has vowed to reverse many of Bolsonaro’s policies, including measures in favor of guns and weak protections for the Amazon rainforest.
Judge Alexandre de Moraes has called on the Federal Highway Police (PRF) to lift all truck driver blockades.
Some truck drivers posted videos calling for a military coup to prevent Lula from taking office.
PRF said truck drivers had partially or completely blocked highways in more than 200 locations as part of protests that have spread to 21 of Brazil’s 26 states and the federal district. They said a further 192 obstacles had been cleared.
Reported by Brian Ellsworh and Gabriel Araujo from São Paulo and Ricardo Brito and Anthony Boadle from Brasilia.Editing by Brad Haynes, Paul Simao, Alistair Bell
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