In a historic victory, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won the Brazilian presidency on Sunday night by defeating far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro by more than 2 million votes. Tens of thousands of Lula supporters poured into Paulista Avenue in São Paulo for a grand victory celebration. But Bolsonaro fans have also taken to the streets to block highways and reject the result. Lula takes office on January 1.
Studio/Post Production: Michael Fox
Michael Vos: It was a joy to get all parties over the line.
Michael Vos: Tens of thousands on the streets. Brazil had a new president-elect. His name – Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula’s supporters poured into Paulista Avenue in São Paulo on Sunday evening.
Everton Fialho & Joao Mariano: We cannot be divided. We need unity. We must come together. Enough homophobia and racism. We want to be free!
Michael Vos: He defeated far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro. It was a hard-fought election. Marred by disinformation, fake news, vote buying and even alleged voter suppression. But Lula still won by 2 million votes
Crowd: Long live democracy! Down with fascism!
Michael Vos: In his acceptance speech, Lula said it was a victory for Brazilian democracy.
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva: On this historic October 30, the majority of Brazilians made it very clear that they want more democracy, not less. They want more social inclusion, not less. They want more respect, not less. They want more freedom, equality and brotherhood.
Michael Vos: But Bolsonaro remained silent. His supporters and far-right truck drivers took to the streets and blocked highways.
Protester: 30 October. The counting of votes has just ended. The Brazilian people know that they have undergone a serious coup, and we are not going to accept it. We’re closing things down.
Michael Vos: They blocked more than 200 roads across Brazil over the next two days, including the main road to the country’s busiest airport, Guarulhos, outside São Paulo. Flights were cancelled. The federal police stood aside. Finally, Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes on Tuesday authorized the necessary use of military police to clear the highways. Roads have started to be opened.
Bolsonaro finally spoke on Tuesday afternoon, although he said very little. He didn’t recognize the results, nor did he acknowledge Lula’s win. But his chief of staff Ciro Nogueira said the president had given him permission to begin the transition process to the next government. It’s a welcome sign.
But on Wednesday, Bolsonaro supporters gathered outside military barracks across the country and called on the armed forces to intervene. There were particularly worrying images of protesters in the southern state of Santa Catarina.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has asked his supporters to stop blocking highways.
Jair Bolsonaro: It’s not cool to close roads around Brazil. They harm people’s constitutional rights.
Michael Vos: People are hoping that tensions will ease over the next two months, ahead of the president-elect’s inauguration on January 1, when Lula and his supporters expect another memorable celebration on the streets of Brazil.