Protests by backers of Jair Bolsonaro, led by truck drivers, have spread across the country as the Brazilian president remains silent over his loss in Sunday’s election, so far refusing to concede defeat to his foe Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Supporters of the firebrand president, unhappy with the election result, blocked more than 200 roads across more than a dozen states and the capital and restricted access to Sao Paulo international airport, forcing the cancellation of 25 flights. The protests prompted Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes to order the federal highway police to clear the blockades, warning of fines reaching 100,000 reais ($19,306) per hour per vehicle.
Bolsonaro has refused to make any public comments after losing the presidential runoff to Lula by less than 2 percentage points, the narrowest margin for a presidential election in the country’s modern history. Pressure from some allies is building for him to say something to de-escalate the rising tension. His Communications Minister Fabio Faria said late Monday that he will speak today.
Bolsonaro is meeting with heads of the Navy and Air Force at the presidential palace in Brasilia Tuesday morning, in addition to the ministers of defense, justice and public security. Bolsonaro’s Chief of Staff, Ciro Nogueira, and running mate in the election, General Walter Braga Netto, are also attending.