Thousands in Brazil rally in support of candidate Bolsonaro

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of people rallied Sunday in 15 states across Brazil in support of Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing front-runner in next week’s presidential runoff election.

Bolsonaro won the first round of voting Oct. 7 and opinion polls put him ahead of the leftist Workers’ Party candidate, Fernando Haddad, in the Oct. 28 ballot.

In Rio de Janeiro, thousands marched along Copacabana Beach wearing yellow T-shirts of Brazil’s national soccer team, waving Brazilian flags and chanting: “Workers’ Party get out!”

“The people are fed up with so much robbery and with the division created by the left between whites and blacks, gays and heterosexuals,” said Bolsonaro sympathizer Andre Amarol, an driver.

“We trust Bolsonaro because he is an honest family man,” Amarol added.

Bolsonaro, who has angered many Brazilians by praising the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and making comments offensive to gays, women and blacks, got 46 percent of the votes in the crowded presidential field in the Oct. 7 election, but he needed more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff. Haddad finished second with 29 percent to earn the other spot in the second round.

The pro-Bolsonaro rallies came a day after thousands took to the streets to protest his candidacy. They shouted “Not him,” which has become the rallying cry against the former army captain.