As Brazil has been rising the tops of global coronavirus dissemination curve and Bolsonaro’s popularity hits a new low, his most radical support base has remained by his side. Its members have even inaugurated a new strategy for demonstrations against COVID-19 restriction policies. As rallies turn out has declined, the protest base has ushered more frequent and smaller protests outside the Palácio do Planalto to show their support for the president. On these occasions, that do not only take place in the capital, protesters cry for the return of the military dictatorship and against restrictive measures that “violate the right to come and go”.
This might seem contradictory, but as Isabela Kalil argues in a recently published piece, “The staunch Bolsonaro supporters blend a combination of anti-system politics with a refusal to process information that is not created within the Bolsonarista universe. They see themselves as the people, but they represent a small portion of the population.”
Bolsonaro supporters have been quite vocal in his solidarity, even applying violence against journalists and protesting outside Supreme Court judges’ offices. This strategy seems to play a role in convincing a strength he does not have right now, in order to prevent Congress from processing the many impeachment requests that have been tabled.
*Isabela Kalil is a professor of anthropology at the São Paulo School of Sociology and Politics.