Last Updated on November 3, 2022
A man was arrested after driving his car through a crowd of Bolsonaro supporters who had blocked a highway Mirassol, state of São Paulo. The driver is facing charges of attempted murder after nine people were seriously injured, including a little girl. Brazil has been rocked by massive protests in response to a presidential election marred by accusations of fraud. Millions of “invalid” votes were tossed in the election, far exceeding the margin of victory for leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was previously jailed for corruption.
The incident happened on Tuesday afternoon on the Washington Luis Highway, local media reported. Hundreds of Bolsonaro supporters had gathered on the highway to protest the controversial election, as they have done in at least 12 Brazilian states. Bolsonaro, who has not conceded but has stated that he will follow the nation’s constitution, urged his supporters to keep highways clear in a statement Wednesday.
The driver, identified by law enforcement as a 28-year-old man, told police that he asked the crowd to be allowed to pass through, but was denied permission. He then accelerated forward and drove through the crowd, carrying several protesters on the hood of his car, footage of the incident shows.
Graphic footage of the aftermath shows multiple people injured, a number of them seriously. A young girl was also among nine currently confirmed injuries. Early reports stated that at least two people were killed in the attack, though that has not been confirmed as of this time.
🟥 BREAKING NEWS – BRAZIL: Several people hit by a car during peaceful demonstrations in Mirassol, state of Sao Paulo. [GRAPHIC CONTENT] pic.twitter.com/ZlsnXSXHHx
— Direto da América (@DiretoDaAmerica) November 2, 2022
After driving through, the vehicle was eventually stopped by protesters, who surrounded the car and pulled the driver out. The 28-year-old was promptly arrested while a passenger, his 74-year-old mother, was released.
Massive protests have persisted in Brazil since Bolsonaro’s narrow defeat to Lula. The election has generated controversy, as close to 6,000,000 ballots were declared “invalid.”
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets demanding an investigation into the election, including the largest cities of Rio De Janeiro and São Paulo. In the nation’s capital of Brasília, thousands of pro-Bolsonaro demonstrators have remained outside of army headquarters, demanding intervention.
“We hope the army will intervene in this situation, we know that those elections were fraudulent,” said Reinaldo da Silva, 65, a retired government worker at a rally near the entrance to a São Paulo army barracks, according to Reuters. “I came today because I want Brasil to be free, socialism does not work with the Brazilian nation.”
Bolsonaro has not officially conceded defeat, though he has stated that he will follow the nation’s constitution.