The left and the labour movement, feminists and LGBTQ people, are on the defensive after the election of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro as president on 28 October 2018. Bolsonaro takes office on 1 January, but already the right wing are energised.
Street parties were held all over the country on the night of his election. Many places saw military vehicles parade through the streets. Thousands of people poured out to show their support. More than 20 universities have been subjected to invasions by military police and the confiscation of teaching materials relating to anti-fascist history and activism. It is unclear where the orders came from, but since the invasions took place in the days immediately following Bolsonaro’s victory, it seems very likely that they are linked.
A Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) camp was set on fire by a group of Bolsonaro supporters in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in southern Brazil. The MST has expressed fear that these kinds of attacks are going to grow in the wake of Bolsonaro’s election. There has been a more generalised surge in mob violence surrounding the election. Women and LGTBQ individuals have born the brunt of the spike in violence.
Workers’ Party supporters and leftists have also been targeted and reports have even been made of people being attacked simply because they were wearing red. However, many are continuing to oppose Bolsonaro. Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in some of Brazil’s major cities — São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre and Recife among them.
The demonstrations have been backed by the Frente Brasil Popular, a coalition of left-wing organisations that was formed in 2015. The FBP encompasses LGBT organisations, student organiations, the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) and the main confederation of trade unions in Brazil, the CUT, in its list of almost seventy affiliates.