"Get out of Bolsonaro!" say ex-supporters in Brazil as COVID-19, vaccines weigh in

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© Reuters. Protest against the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Sao Paulo

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By Gabriel Stargardter

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Meggy Fernandes voted for Jair Bolsonaro in the 2018 presidential election in Brazil, attracted by the far-right former army captain's promise to shake up a political establishment embroiled in endless transplant scandals.

But after watching him ditch his anti-corruption pledges, make pacts with the politicians he promised to avoid, and most importantly botch the Brazilian coronavirus response, Fernandes, 66, says she was wrong, her trust in To put Bolsonaro.

"I'm so outraged by my vote," she said in a supermarket parking lot in Rio de Janeiro at an unusual rally convened by right-wing groups. "Bolsonaro oversees a horrific government. He's doing the nation a disservice. His handling of the pandemic is completely wrong."

Despite repeatedly denying the severity of the pandemic and overseeing a response that has struck Brazil with the second highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world after the US, he ended 2020 with a generous coronavirus support package.

However, January was less friendly. The welfare program is now over and many poor Brazilians are stranded when a second wave gains momentum. Others were upset about the slow and inconsistent adoption of vaccines by the federal government and Bolsonaro's personal pledge not to take a COVID-19 shot.

A recent surge in cases in the northern city of Manaus, which was one of the first places badly hit by the virus during the first wave, has emerged as yet another stain on the president's coronavirus response. The city deep in the Amazon rainforest (NASDAQ 🙂 ran out of oxygen last week and hospitals relied on black market bottles or tanks imported from Bolsonaro's longtime enemy, Venezuela.

Support for Bolsonaro has fallen by the largest amount since he began his government in 2019, a survey by Datafolha found on Friday. Its administration was rated bad or awful by 40% of respondents, compared with 32% in early December. Just under a third of those polled rated the Bolsonaro government good or excellent, up from 37% in the previous poll.

In Brasilia, however, Bolsonaro appears to be on more stable ground. A majority of Brazilians reject the charges, a second Datafolha poll on Friday revealed. It found that 53% of respondents oppose impeachment proceedings by Congress, compared to 50% in a previous poll. Proponents of impeachment fell from 46% to 43%.

Candidates supported by Bolsonaro are also expected to take control of Congress next month. His growing willingness to discuss the political horse trade has helped him create a base of right-wing legislators that could prevent any possibility of impeachment.

But it was precisely these partnerships that brought a few protesters to a scorching parking lot in Rio's Barra da Tijuca district on Sunday.

The protests on Sunday, convened by Vem Pra Rua and Movimento Brasil Livre, two right-wing groups whose nationwide protests helped hasten the impeachment and eventual recall of former left-wing president Dilma Rousseff in 2016, were full of disgusted former Bolsonaro -Pendant. Similar events took place in Sao Paulo and Brasilia, with left-wing protests against impeachment across Brazil on Saturday.

Although the turnout in Rio has been low, the president could face an issue before 2022 if the numbers rise in the coming months if he is certain to see re-election.

Like others at the protest, Patricia Resende, a 57-year-old officer, said Bolsonaro was unlikely to face charges.

She said that many of her friends who voted for Bolsonaro still liked him. But Resende said she had come to "take a stand" against what she called his "election hoax".

"He was a coronavirus denier," she said. "He hasn't tried to buy enough vaccines for a population over 200 million people."

As the crowd gathered, Fernandes picked up the microphone and delivered a passionate speech about Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic and her disappointment with his presidency.

"& # 39; Long live Bolsonaro!" "She exclaimed when she finished, before realizing her mistake, blushing and quickly correcting herself. "Sorry, I meant & # 39; out of Bolsonaro!"

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