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Feeling the Pressure, Brazil's Bolsonaro Rallies His Troops

"The base still supports him, but they're a bit upset and de-energized for a variety of reasons," said AS/COA's Brian Winter to AFP.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has seen happier days: his poll numbers have plunged, his nemesis Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is looming large and the Senate is investigating his chaotic handling of Covid-19.

What to do?

First: Hop on his trusty blue motorcycle and lead a huge rally of fellow far-right bikers, as he did last Sunday.

Second: Ride in on horseback to fire up a demo of conservative farmers, as he reportedly plans to do Saturday.

That rally's organizers have called for conservative "soldiers" to protest the "craziness" of pandemic stay-at-home measures and Brazil's Supreme Court, which allowed local authorities to impose such policies over Bolsonaro's objections.

Third: So-called "Christian Family Freedom Marches" are also planned in some 100 cities this weekend, evoking a similar movement in support of a 1964 coup that installed a 21-year military dictatorship in Brazil -- for which Bolsonaro, a former army captain, is openly nostalgic.

Facing threats on multiple fronts, the man dubbed the "Tropical Trump" has whipped out a familiar script: energize his base with large, polarizing rallies that tend to offend critics as intensely as they rile up die-hard fans…

"It's like a parade of people reminding Brazilians why the death toll is so high," said Brian Winter, vice president of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.

"It hurts him for the 2022 race, because it will remind everybody of the disastrous management and denialism that he engaged in."…

"The base still supports him, but they're a bit upset and de-energized for a variety of reasons," said Winter…

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