The greater forecast of participants and the security requirements of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) made the organizers of the “motociata” scheduled for this Saturday (12) in São Paulo to change the planning of the event.
It will now end at the Ibirapuera obelisk, an open area, and no longer on Avenida Paulista, which is considered very narrow, as originally planned. The start will be at 10 am at the intersection of Braz Leme and Santos Dumont avenues, in the Santana neighborhood, in the northern part of the city.
“We will have a concentration of participants at dawn, of people who want to be closer to the president”, said Jackson Vilar, one of the organizers of the event, which was baptized “Acelera Para Cristo” and will have a religious act at the end.
There are already nearly 400,000 registered people interested in participating in the event, says Vilar, a trader in the Capão Redondo region, in the south of São Paulo. “There are people coming from several states and from the interior of São Paulo, hundreds of motorcycle clubs that have come into contact”, he says.
Even if only a fraction of this number actually attends, the expectation is that it will be a bigger event than similar motorcycles that took place last month in Brasília and Rio de Janeiro.
This Thursday (10), the organizers had a meeting with the Military Police to set details of the route and security conditions. Before, they had also talked to Army representatives in the city.
The motorcycle’s exact itinerary is not being disclosed for safety reasons, but the forecast is that it will total around 120 km and end in the early afternoon at the Ibirapuera park, where there will be a sound car.
“When we get there, we’ll say a prayer and a thank you to God, and we’ll have some speeches. President Bolsonaro has not yet informed us if he will want to get on the truck, but he will be very welcome if he so decides”, declared Vilar.
At the meeting with the PM, some rules were established: the motorcycles must all be licensed and cannot travel at more than 40 km/h. It will be prohibited to rear the vehicle, and everyone must wear a helmet and masks.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic, and we do not want anyone to speak ill of our event due to the lack of a mask”, says Vilar.
He said, however, that organizers cannot force Bolsonaro to wear the face shield, and that it is up to him to make that decision.
At the event in Rio de Janeiro, last month, the president spoke without a mask from the top of a truck, with active general and former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello at his side, which generated a crisis with the Army.
The Public Ministry of São Paulo says it will monitor the way in which the event will respect the state’s sanitary protocols against Covid-19, and does not rule out taking any action against the organizers.
In theory, Bolsonaro and participants who do not wear a mask may also be fined by the state government, as Maranhão has already done in a recent event.
The event had been planned for about a month with much more modest proportions, organized by a group of merchants, headed by Vilar, and evangelical churches in the state.
But the act has grown a lot since Bolsonaro confirmed participation, which even began to annoy some representatives of motorcycle associations, who say that the event was “kidnapped” by religious leaders unrelated to the motorcycle world.
In part, the idea is to compensate for the cancellation in person of the largest evangelical event in the country, the Marcha Para Jesus, because of the pandemic. The march usually takes place in the month of June.
The president has a loyal following in the evangelical milieu, although the latest Datafolha poll pointed to a technical tie with former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) in the support given by this segment.
More recently, Bolsonaro also started to receive the support of many motorcyclists, who organize themselves in Brazil in several clubs for fans of two wheels. Most of them associate the president, who is an amateur motorcyclist, with the defense of freedom.
Bolsonaro also promoted the reduction of the amount of mandatory insurance and announced the exemption of tolls on federal roads for motorcyclists.
After this Saturday’s motorcycle, others should take place in Brazil in the coming months.
The idea of Bolsonaro supporters is to turn the images of the president, surrounded by a crowd on two wheels, into the 2022 equivalent of the massive airport gatherings across the country of his victorious 2018 campaign.