Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies may be setting the state for a coup attempt similar to the January 6 Capitol riot in the United States, according to an open letter signed by over 150 lawmakers and former world leaders.
Tens of thousands of Bolsonaro supporters flooded the streets on Tuesday amid his battle with the country’s Supreme Court and ahead of an upcoming election where the deeply unpopular president has already echoed former US President Donald Trump’s baseless election fraud concerns.
Bolsonaro, who faces multiple federal investigations, including one ordered by the Supreme Court into his administration’s spreading of fake news, has accused the judges of blocking his ability to govern.
Large security forces were deployed Tuesday in major cities. Bolsonaro vowed that two million supporters would turn out as he faces a serious climb in the polls ahead of the election.
The letter warned that Bolsonaro and his allies, “including white supremacist groups, military police, and public officials at every level of government” are rallying supporters against the Supreme Court and Congress, “stoking fears of a coup in the world’s third largest demcoracy.”
The letter noted that Bolsonaro directed a military parade through Brasilia amid a congressional debate on the country’s election system.
“Bolsonaro and his government have threatened -- several times -- to cancel the 2022 presidential elections if Congress fails to approve these reforms,” the letter said.
“Members of Congress in Brazil have warned that the 7 September mobilization has been modeled on the insurrection at the United States Capitol on,” the letter said. “We are gravely concerned about the imminent threat to Brazil’s democratic institutions.”
The letter’s signatories include former presidents and prime ministers as well as lawmakers.
Among them were former Spain Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, former Paraguay President Fernando Lugo, former Colombian President Ernesto Samper, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, former Panamanian President Martin Torrijos.
American signatories included Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and professor Noam Chomsky.
Numerous members of the British Parliament, including former Labour Leader Jeremy Corbin, also signed the letter, as did dozens of members of parliaments in Europe, Australia, and South and Central America.