Bolsonaro intended to transfer the civic-military parade on the 7th from Avenida Presidente Vargas, in the center – where it always took place – to Copacabana
President Jair Bolsonaro will use military actions to thicken an electoral act on September 7 in Rio. The expected rally of the president – candidate for reelection by the PL – on the Rio de Janeiro coast will take place at the same time as the Navy makes its naval stop, the Air Force displays the smoke squadron and the cannons of the Copacabana Fort will salute the bicentennial of Independence . Bolsonaristas will mix with military bands and an exhibition of paratroopers from the Army and Air Force.
Bolsonaro intended to transfer the civic-military parade on the 7th from Avenida Presidente Vargas, downtown – where it always took place – to Copacabana, where his campaign event will take place. Historically, presidents, since redemocratization, participate in Independence Day celebrations only at the military parade, in Brasília. It was so with José Sarney, Fernando Collor, Itamar Franco, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Dilma Rousseff and Michel Temer. Bolsonaro will be the first to go to a second act, in Rio – along with an electoral demonstration.
On Friday, the Federal Public Ministry sent requests to the Eastern Military Command (CML), the 1st Naval District and the 3rd Regional Air Command to inform what measures they have taken to prevent the celebration of Independence from being confused with party political act. He also asked what they did to prevent subordinates from participating in political celebrations.
For analysts, Bolsonaro intends, with the act, to unite the military with his supporters. “What would be a civic celebration that marks a common good for all Brazilians, the 200 years of the country’s independence, ends up being an expensive campaign event”, said Eduardo Heleno de Jesus Santos, from the Institute of Strategic Studies at the Fluminense Federal University. .
Professor of Political Science at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) Christian Lynch agrees. According to him, the president will use the official acts to show support from the military and voters. The scenario – predicts – will be used in electoral propaganda pieces. “Bolsonaro sells the image that he has the unrestricted support of the people and the Armed Forces and is always parasitizing events with the presence of the Armed Forces, of evangelicals, in an attempt to take actions himself.”
This time, the president faced resistance from the Army and the City of Rio de Janeiro, which said it was not possible to move the event. The result was that, after two years of a pandemic without parties across the country, the bicentennial of Independence will be celebrated without a parade in Rio. The stop on Avenida Presidente Vargas was canceled in order not to upset Bolsonaro. If it couldn’t be in Copacabana, it wouldn’t be anywhere else either.
CML troops will parade in Belo Horizonte, Vitória and even São Paulo, where the Parachute and Mountain Brigades have sent contingents. In the capital of São Paulo, the Southeast Military Command is preparing a party with 6,266 soldiers from the three Forces – including Ecuadorian cadets -, 1,015 police officers and 3,000 civilians, on Avenida d. Pedro 1.º, next to the Museu Paulista, in Ipiranga. Parades will take place in all capitals. Salvador will have 6,400 civilians and military personnel and in Recife there will be 2,500 military personnel.
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Bolsonarista politicians, heard on condition of anonymity, assess that the celebration in Rio will serve for the president to continue to contest the election polls. They prepare a big leaflet on the waterfront. In the state, Lula scored 42% against 36% for the president, in the most recent Datafolha poll. In 2018, Bolsonaro won the second round with twice as many votes as Fernando Haddad (PT).
For Eduardo Heleno, there are other reasons for choosing Rio. The political cradle of the president, the state concentrates a large military garrison, which has always served as an electoral base for Bolsonaro. “It is impossible not to take into account, in addition to the military public, the approximation with Christian neoconservatives.”
He cites the fact that the president grew out of that electorate, which also includes supporters of the monarchy. The State is also key to the pretension of forming strong state and federal benches and to legal issues, as there are the main investigations involving Flávio and Carlos Bolsonaro.
Finally, the move to Rio would be conditional on the president not having the support of the governor of São Paulo, Rodrigo Garcia (PSDB). In 2021, Bolsonaro chose Avenida Paulista for the act on the 7th. For the anthropologist Isabela Kalil, from the School of Sociology and Politics of São Paulo, there is a political calculation in the change. She recalls that, in 1972, it was in São Paulo that the dictatorship held the main act of commemoration of 150 years of Independence, with the arrival of the mortal remains of d. Pedro 1º to the Paulista Museum. This time, the government managed to get the emperor’s heart from Portugal to Brazil, but without arousing the same commotion. “Depending on how the 7th of September goes, we will know how the election goes.”
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Without the parade in the center, the Armed Forces prepared eight hours of presentations. The first of the cannon volleys will be at 8 o’clock. They will repeat themselves hourly. In the morning, Army bands will perform in neighborhoods of Rio. The naval parade, with ships from the Brazilian Navy and from friendly countries, will depart from Recreio dos Bandeirantes, at 9 am, towards Guanabara Bay.
At 1 pm, there will be a commemorative ceremony on Avenida Atlântica, in Copacabana, with an air show and performance by military bands. At 4 pm, the Navy and artillery at the Fort will execute 21-gun salutes in honor of the Bicentennial. Bolsonaro will participate in the parade on the 7th, in the morning, in Brasília. Afterwards, you will arrive in Copacabana on a motorcycle, which will leave Aterro do Flamengo to a stage set up near the Fort, but far from the center of official celebrations.
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