Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s presidential front-runner, stabbed at rally

Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s presidential front-runner, stabbed at rally

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BY BBC  NEWS,7TH SEPT 2018-The front-runner in Brazil’s presidential election, Jair Bolsonaro, has been stabbed at a campaign rally.

The far-right politician was attacked amid a crowd in the south-east state of Minas Gerais. A suspect was arrested.

Mr Bolsonaro had surgery for injuries to his intestines and is expected to recover, hospital officials said.

The controversial politician, who has outraged many in Brazil with racist and homophobic comments, has performed strongly in recent opinion polls.

The polls suggest he will get the most votes in the first round of the October presidential elections if former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva remains blocked from standing, but he is unlikely to win a run-off.

Left-wing Lula had been the long-standing favourite but he is currently in prison, appealing against a ban on his candidacy that was imposed after his conviction for corruption.

Some of Mr Bolsonaro’s past comments have caused uproar, including equating homosexuality with paedophilia, and saying a congresswoman was too ugly to be raped.


Campaigning from hospital and prison

Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent, São Paulo

This is another twist – a dramatic one – in what has already been a turbulent campaign for one of Brazil’s most uncertain elections in decades.

Jair Bolsonaro is the front-runner and he is in a hospital bed, while the only person thought to be able to beat him is Lula – and he is in a prison cell. It is a surreal situation.

One of Jair Bolsonaro’s key campaign messages is that he will try to turn around the growth in violent crime. The fact that he is now a victim himself plays into the hands of his supporters, who see this as a very important problem for Brazil to tackle. Everyone – including his detractors – has rallied around him to condemn the attack.

As it has happened so close to the October election, he won’t be on the campaign trail for the next week or so. Nevertheless, his supporters will be strengthened, seeing that his concerns are their concerns.


How did the attack unfold?

Footage of the incident in the city of Juiz de Fora shows Mr Bolsonaro making a thumbs-up gesture and being held aloft by supporters when he is stabbed with what appears to be a knife.

He then doubles over with pain and his supporters quickly lower him to the ground and bundle him into a car.

After the attack, his son Flavio tweeted: “Unfortunately it was more serious than we had expected. He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital with a [blood] pressure of 10/3, almost dead. His condition now seems stabilised. Pray, please!”

Hospital officials later said Mr Bolsonaro had suffered a “deep” and life-threatening stab wound in his intestines and was in a “serious but stable” condition.

Military police released a picture of the man suspected of stabbing Mr Bolsonaro

He was recuperating well in intensive care after two hours of surgery, they added, but would spend at least a week to 10 days in hospital.

He has since been filmed in his hospital bed, making a hoarse statement. He described how what he thought was “just a blow” turned into an unbearable pain. He had “never hurt anyone”, he said.

Police said a suspect has been arrested and named him as Adelio Obispo de Oliveira, 40. Officials quoted by Reuters news agency said he appeared to be mentally disturbed.

He was manhandled and beaten by angry supporters of Mr Bolsonaro before being taken into custody.

Stabbing suspect Adelio Obispo de Oliveira was grabbed by members of the crowd.
It took the crowd some moments to realise Jair Bolsonaro, top right, had been stabbed.

What has been the reaction?

Mr Bolsonaro’s electoral rivals have all condemned the stabbing. Fernando Haddad, who is expected to replace Lula on the Workers’ Party ticket, said the attack was “absurd and regrettable”.

Speaking in the capital Brasilia, President Michel Temer said such an attack was “intolerable” in a democratic state and that he hoped Mr Bolsonaro recovered soon.

The president’s predecessor, Dilma Rousseff, warned that the attack must not go unpunished.

Brazilian stocks rose after the attack on Mr Bolsonaro, as it was seen as increasing his chances. His free-market economics make him popular with investors.

 

 

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