Brazil on Edge for a Bicentennial Bolsonaro Has Made His Own

By Carla Bridi and Diane Jeantet

"Everyone wants to know if [Bolsonaro] will cross that line and create a genuine institutional crisis," said AS/COA's Brian Winter to the Associated Press.

President Jair Bolsonaro calls Brazil’s bicentennial Wednesday a chance to celebrate the nation’s proud history, but critics say he has transformed what should be a day of unity into a campaign event that they fear he will use to undermine next month’s election in Latin America’s biggest democracy.

Bolsonaro, who trails in polls before the Oct. 2 vote, has urged Brazilians to flood the streets, and tens of thousands of his supporters were expected to turn out for rallies in Brasilia, Sao Paulo and his hometown of Rio de Janeiro in a show of strength. The armed forces were putting on military displays in the capital and in Rio, with Bolsonaro attending. […]

“Bolsonaro and his supporters have built this up into the most important day of the whole campaign. So he’ll have to deliver some kind of red meat,” said Brian Winter, vice president for policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. “But everyone wants to know if he’ll cross that line and create a genuine institutional crisis.”…

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