If further proof was needed that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is a very divisive leader, it was provided on Friday by passengers on a commercial flight who, in front, took selfies with him, and behind, copiously took it. hooted.
On tour in the southern state of Espirito Santo for the groundbreaking of infrastructure work at an airport, the far-right president made a surprise appearance at the entrance of a commercial plane about to take off . The passengers in the front were all smiles and Jair Bolsonaro cheerfully indulged in selfies with some of them or crew members committed to his cause. These are the scenes that we see on a video posted on his official Twitter account.
But on other videos posted on social networks, we see passengers giving the head of state a middle finger while shouting «Dehors, Bolsonaro!» and “Genocidal madman!” The president has been accused of “genocide” in recent months by his opponents for his management deemed irresponsible of the Covid-19 health crisis, which has killed more than 480,000 people in Brazil, the worst death toll in the world after the United States. Responding to his detractors, Jair Bolsonaro took off his mask to launch: “These people who shout ‘Bolsonaro outside’, should rather travel on donkeys”. Brazilian media reported that the president also took off the protective mask at the airport, in violation of current health regulations.
Asked by AFP about this incident which quickly became the most commented on Twitter in Brazil with the keyword #Bolsonaro out !, the office of the presidency did not react immediately. Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly criticized the masks and the confinements and restrictions imposed by the governors and mayors of the country in order to stem the epidemic. He has also consistently praised the merits of the ineffective chloroquine.
The president’s popularity rate has fallen sharply as the death toll from the coronavirus has risen. His opponents have launched calls for demonstrations on Sunday, the day of the opening match of the Copa America, a major Latin American football championship. Bolsonaro welcomed this tournament with open arms after the defections of Argentina and Colombia, also very affected by the epidemic, and despite warnings from epidemiologists of the imminent arrival of a third wave.