After 200 years of the proclamation of the Republic’s independence and 33 years of the 1988 Constitution, promulgated after the period of military dictatorship, Brazil found itself facing a picturesque scenario on September 7, 2021, with demonstrations expressing anti-democratic requests, such as the closing of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) and the military intervention on democracy, under the command of Jair Bolsonaro (no party).
The acts in question were called by the president himself, in an attempt to mobilize his base and demonstrate political strength. With motorcades heading for Brasília and São Paulo, the hypothesis of a possible military coup was monitored by specialists and the press, and in fact it caused apprehension even in progressive circles of civil society over the past few days. But nothing happened.
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On the 8th of September, when the anxiety is over, the question that is asked is what could have brought as a new ingredient this 7th of September to the interminable and self-fed crisis of the government and the country
For Rodrigo Ratier, journalist and professor at the Cásper Líbero Communication Faculty of São Paulo, the acts were expressive, even though they did not reach the adhesion goals established by the organizers themselves.
“The president fulfilled his task of continuing to disrupt the game. Despite the frustration of sectors of the far right who expected an invasion order to the Supreme Court (STF), Bolsonaro’s threat clearly did not respect any decision by Minister Alexandre de Moraes, this being the most evident coup element of his speech”, pointed out the professor.
He recalled that Moraes is the minister responsible for inquiries that investigate the financing and organization of anti-democratic demonstrations carried out by the president’s allies on holiday, and also conducts the investigation that investigates threats and false news aimed at STF members. In this way, saying that he will not comply with decisions rendered by Moraes is the same as saying that he will not submit to Justice if it is unfavorable to him in judgment.
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In the same vein, Fábio Venturini, Member of the ethics committee of the São Paulo Professional Journalists Union, Doctor in History and professor at the Federal University of the State of São Paulo (Unifesp), explains that Bolsonaro called for the acts to carry out an aesthetic intervention, that is, to show later that the people were on his side.
“The president has 20% to 25% support in his constituency; he doesn’t have enough political clout to push an agenda, but he can wreak havoc. The question is whether other political forces are going to convince themselves that it’s worth going into this adventure with him.”
Both Ratier and Venturini claim that the president does not come out strengthened or weakened from the actions, just more radicalized. “He made a very risky card. The PSDB, which was the government’s guarantor from the beginning, is already discussing the impeachment, so it provokes society to move and take a certain position. He radicalized his base, now Congress and the STF must act with force”, points out Venturini.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla