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Brazil’s president jeered at soccer match in Rio de Janeiro

July 8, 2019
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Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds the trophy as he celebrates with Brazil players after they won 3-1 the final soccer match of the Copa America against Peru at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, July 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was booed Sunday while attending the championship match of the Copa América soccer tournament at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Bolsonaro was accompanied by several Cabinet ministers and received mostly jeers from 70,000 fans at the stadium for Brazil’s 3-1 victory over Peru.

Since taking office Jan. 1, his popularity rating has slid into the low 30s in opinion polls amid Brazil’s continuing economic problems and infighting within his administration.

On Friday, the far-right president said he would attend the match to test his popularity. It is an old tradition that spectators at the Maracana boo authorities. There was also some applause for the politician Sunday.

After the jeers, Bolsonaro joined the players to take pictures with the trophy of the South American tournament. Some of them, including defender Fagner and midfielder Lucas Paquetá, cheered him on, while others chose to celebrate without any references to the president.

Brazil coach Tite shook the president’s hand, but avoided being hugged.

The president attended three Copa América matches, including Brazil’s opening game against Bolivia, its semifinal win over Argentina and the final.

Bolsonaro also received jeers Tuesday at halftime during Brazil’s 2-0 win over Argentina at Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, but he got almost as many cheers.

“Those were boos for Argentina, not for me,” he said after the match. Argentina’s team was not on the field at the time the jeers appeared.

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