Tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets Saturday in protest against the presidential front-runner, a far-right congressman whose campaign has exposed and deepened divisions in Latin America's largest country.
The protests came the same day that Jair Bolsonaro was discharged from a Sao Paulo hospital where he received treatment after being stabbed during a campaign rally on Sept. 6. On Saturday evening, after flying home to Rio, he tweeted that there was "no better feeling" than to be close to his family.
In Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, people flooded avenues and squares to sing, dance and shout "Not him!" — the rallying cry of groups who are trying to prevent Bolsonaro from taking office in October elections.
Bolsonaro's candidacy has attracted international attention as an example of the trend in many countries toward populism and extremes in politics, and small protests were held against him in London, Lisbon, Berlin and Paris. Bolsonaro is currently leading polls with around 28 percent of support among voters polled, but he also has the highest rejection rate of any candidate. That could become especially important if no one wins the majority of votes on Oct. 7, and the election is decided in a second round. Polls then show him losing in most scenarios. Bolsonaro has said he will accept nothing less than victory and suggested his opponents will commit fraud to defeat him.
Brazil is experiencing a moment of intense and unusual polarization after a tumultuous few years. It has suffered a deep, prolonged recession, a corruption investigation that decimated its political class, and the impeachment and removal from office of its first female president in highly contentious proceedings.
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