Left splits over Bolsonaro’s arrest and avoids Paulista – 02/29/2024 – Power

Left splits over Bolsonaro’s arrest and avoids Paulista – 02/29/2024 – Power


Left-wing movements and parties decided to veto the motto of Jair Bolsonaro’s (PL) arrest as the flag of a demonstration that was scheduled for March 23, almost a month after the act that brought together thousands of the former president’s supporters on Avenida Paulista last year. Sunday (25).

The proposal to defend the prison was discussed in meetings of the Brasil Popular and Povo sem Medo fronts, which bring together organizations aligned with President Lula (PT), but ended up being rejected by the majority. The consensus definition was to preach the motto “no amnesty for coup plotters” and remember the 60th anniversary of the 1964 military coup, spreading the message that new attempts at rupture must be fought.

Leaders of the mobilization were irritated by materials that circulated stating that the request for arrest would be one of the decoys of the act. The argument that prevailed in the closed debates was that the right to defense and due legal process must be protected, just as was demanded for Lula.

Organizers opposed to the idea recalled that, when the president was the target of Operation Lava Jato and arrested, the so-called progressive camp overwhelmingly defended serving the prison sentence only after there were no more resources. Bolsonaro is being investigated on suspicion of leading a coup plot to reverse the election won by the PT member in 2022 — and has not yet even been formally denounced.

The left’s demonstration will be in defense of democracy and punishment for those whom the courts consider responsible for the unconstitutional uprising.

It should focus on São Paulo and Salvador, but details are still being finalized. The tendency is to avoid Avenida Paulista as the chosen point in the capital of São Paulo, for fear that the comparison with the Bolsonaro act would be unfavorable.

People involved in the discussions admit, on condition of anonymity, that the right has demonstrated its ability to mobilize and claim that the presence of Bolsonaro and strong allies acted as an attraction for caravans that left other states.

Lula’s participation in the event is being considered, which would reinforce the struggle of forces with Bolsonarism.

“We want Lula’s participation and for him to help decide whether it is best to concentrate efforts in Salvador or São Paulo”, says João Paulo Rodrigues, national leader of the MST (Landless Rural Workers Movement). According to him, the demonstration is not a response to that of rivals.

The capital of Bahia was chosen as one of the priority locations due to Lula’s strength in the Northeast and the fact that the state is governed by an ally, Jerônimo Rodrigues (PT). Organizers are measuring the willingness of activists to decide on holding events in more capitals on the same day.

In the case of São Paulo, other locations under evaluation are the República and Sé squares and the Batata and São Francisco squares. The choice would make a direct comparison of the size of the audiences difficult. If the left’s action is pulverized, the configuration will be even more different, from the leaders’ perspective.

Last Sunday, the Bolsonarista demonstration in Paulista had 600,000 people on the avenue and another 150,000 on nearby streets, according to the state secretary of Public Security, Bolsonaro supporter Guilherme Derrite. A calculation by USP researchers reached a lower number, 185 thousand people in total.

Lula himself acknowledged in an interview that the act was great and that “it is not possible for you to deny a fact”.

“Just look at the image. How people got there is another 500”, said the president to RedeTV!.

Allies of the PT member have said that businessmen and agribusiness producers financed buses to the destination.

According to Rud Rafael, who is coordinator of the MTST (Homeless Workers Movement) and represents the group on the People Without Fear front, the issue of Bolsonaro’s arrest was excluded from the agenda to unify the entities preparing the call. The meeting that defined the date’s themes was attended by 150 movement spokespersons, according to Rafael.

“We made the adjustment because we do not want to hasten the conclusion of the investigations or anticipate justice. Our defense is that the authorities can get to the bottom of what actually happened,” he says, adding that “there is plenty of evidence showing the connection between several sectors with the coup strategy”.

The understanding expressed in private conversations is that the call for arrest can be used as an agitation strategy, but officially placing it as a demand at this time would sound inconsistent with the left-wing camp’s history in the case of Lula and other Lava Jato defendants. . The discourse, at that time, was that the operation instrumentalized the Judiciary to interfere unduly in politics.

“What we are going to do is, in the context of the anniversary of the coup [militar]remember that this cannot happen again, ever again”, says the national coordinator of the CMP (Central de Movimentos Populares), Raimundo Bonfim. “We will defend the democracy that was attacked in Bolsonaro’s act and reinforce that there should be no forgiveness for whoever is at fault in the registry office.”

Mobilizers say that, even without being an official topic, the issue of prison should appear on posters and speeches, as anti-Bolsonaro activists expect him to be convicted. This pressure has appeared in other protests, such as the one held on January 8 this year also on Avenida Paulista.

In addition to PT, PC do B, PSOL, PV, Rede, PSB and PDT are involved in the March mobilizations. The left-wing camp also launched a manifesto against the Bolsonarist initiative. Palácio do Planalto assessed that Bolsonaro showed strength in mobilizing allies and is studying actions to dialogue with this audience.

In addition to issues related to the coup and democracy, the demonstration will take a stance “against the genocide in Palestine”, according to the final version of the call approved by the movements. The Israel-Hamas war featured prominently in the Bolsonarist act, with a pro-Israel stance.

The calendar established by left-wing organizations also foresees demonstrations on March 8, for International Women’s Day, and on March 14, six years since the murder of councilor Marielle Franco, with demands for clarification of the case. The 23rd would be the final chapter of the so-called “journey of struggles”.

Simone Nascimento, from the MNU (Unified Black Movement), says that “the advance of the extreme right is fought with popular mobilization” and refutes criticisms made on the left itself about the risk of measuring forces with Bolsonaro. “We will be at risk if we don’t continue to build struggles in the streets as well.”


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