BRASILIA (Reuters) – After making several threats over the past few weeks, President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that he will not commit an institutional rupture because he knows the consequences, but complained that he was “provoked all the time” and that the country it is being “smothered” by a minority.
“For my part there will be no rupture. I know the internal and external consequences of a breakup. But they tease us all the time. It is not fair to arrest anyone without due process of law. It is not fair for the TSE now to demonetize pages that say that the printed vote is necessary, or that distrust electronic voting”, said the president at an event in Mato Grosso.
This week, the Inspector of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), Minister Luiz Felipe Salomão, ordered social media platforms to suspend payment for 11-page advertising accused of publishing false news and attacks on the Brazilian electoral system. All of them were from Bolsonaro’s radical supporters and, in several cases, they sustain themselves only with so-called monetization.
Bolsonaro, who constantly attacks the traditional press and has personally attacked several journalists, used the case to defend what he called press freedom, and called the case “the curtailment of social media” and “white dictatorship.”
“Freedom of the press above all. You have to be free, no matter if it causes inconvenience to anyone”, he said, addressing the journalists present at the event. “We want to comply with the Constitution. We play within the four lines of the Constitution. A very few want to throw it away. We cannot accept a white dictatorship in our country with the restriction of social media”.
Then, in another speech, he spoke again about the September 7 act being organized by his supporters. He stated that the demonstrations will be to “ask for freedom” because the country is being “suffocated by a minority” and that there is no need to fear the “September 7 movement” because “our people are orderly, peaceful.”
“Movement 7 de Setembro” is how organizers have referred to the demonstrations scheduled for the Independence holiday, in which they will ask for the printed vote and the dissolution of the Supreme Court (STF).
In his speech, Bolsonaro stated that he was “invited” to participate, but in fact the president himself provoked the acts by telling his supporters, more than once, that a demonstration should be organized to give a “last message” about the printed vote, he would “prompt” to participate.
The president confirmed, as Reuters had anticipated, that he will participate in the events in both São Paulo and Brasília.
“They ask me where I’ll be on September 7th. I will be where the people are. Can I advance? I intend to be on the Esplanade of Ministries. I plan to be at Paulista in the afternoon. I was invited and I invite any politician to be present. It is our second independence”, he affirmed.
Bolsonaro again criticized the Supreme Court, stating that it is “where least expected controls on freedom that a heavy hand is coming”, and that “the people” would be terrified of the actions of “a few who inhabit Praça dos Três Poderes ”.
(Reporting by Lisandra ParaguassuEditing by Alexandre Caverni and Pedro Fonseca)
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