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Political violence during Brazil’s 2022 presidential runoff

Election violence and voter intimidation before and during the runoff

Heading into the first round of voting on October 2, there was a higher level of political violence involving party representatives and supporters than in the 2018 election (For more information on violence in Brazil’s elections, see: ACLED election monitoring report in the first vote). These elevated levels continued leading up to the run-off election, when there was a further surge in violence on Election Day (See chart below). Between October 3 and 30, ACLED documented at least 13 incidents of political violence involving party representatives and supporters, with six fatalities reported. That’s double his number for the same period in 2018.

The run-off violence consisted primarily of direct armed attacks, primarily targeting members and supporters of the Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT). There were at least seven incidents of violence targeting PT supporters, six of which occurred on election day. The use of direct attacks is in contrast to the 2018 election. The 2018 election saw a runoff vote mostly between Bolsonaro supporters and his PT supporters. Violence during the spill occurred mainly in the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with Bolsonaro leading the results. It was half the price.

Perpetrators of election-related violence have not been systematically identified, but ACLED documented military participation in at least three events. Notably, on election day, at a bar in Annapolis, six military officers beat a man with sticks and pepper sprayed his Lula supporters celebrating the election results. Through various policies favoring members of the military, Bolsonaro has courted members of the military police. In return, some people showed support for the Liberal Party (PL) candidate, including on social network platforms (Forum Segurança, 2 September 2021). Similar to the violence that preceded the first round, PL sympathizers engaged in violent attacks against civilians, reportedly killing at least three people. In particular, in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, PL supporters reportedly opened fire on a party celebrating Lula’s victory, killing two of him and wounding four, including a 12-year-old black girl. increase.

In addition to physical violence, assault was also characterized by other forms of pre-voting coercion. On election day, the Federal Highway Police Commissioner ignored the Supreme Electoral Court’s ruling and ordered officers to take control, resulting in voter-carrying buses stopping in northeastern Prolula and other key PT-supported neighborhoods. (The Washington Post, 30 October 2022). In Tocantins and Pará, local businesses, mayors and ranchers allegedly intimidated members of indigenous groups into offering them benefits in exchange for abstaining or voting for Bolsonaro (Brasil de Fato, 2022 29 October). Meanwhile, in Paraná, an agribusiness company pressured its employees to vote for Bolsonaro (Brasil de Fato, 25 October 2022).

Organized crime groups have also been reported to occasionally direct votes in gang-controlled areas (Globo Extra, 9 September 2022; Informe Agora, 19 November 2022). In the north district of Rio de Janeiro, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has called for voter protections after reports that drug traffickers were pressuring residents to vote for certain candidates (Brasil de Fato, 25 October 2022). Day). In Rio das Ostras, Red Command members coerced voters to distribute warnings against voting for Bolsonaro (Crimes News RJ, 11 October 2022).

Post-election anxiety and violence

Violence and unrest stemming from the electoral process continued even after the results were announced. Following Lula’s narrow victory, PL supporters blocked roads across the country to challenge the election results and called on the military to seize power. The demonstrations began on his October 30th and culminated on November 1st, citing Bolsonaro’s failure to immediately recognize his opponent’s victory and his earlier criticism of the integrity of Brazil’s voting system. Fueled, at least 524 events were recorded that day.

While the majority of pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations remained peaceful, violent demonstrations accounted for about 11% of the total mobilization from 30 October to 30 November. In contrast, anti-Bolsonaro mobilizations before and after the 2018 presidential runoff did not lead to significant outbreaks of violence, and protests were met with limited state intervention. Demonstrators set barricades on fire and he interacted more than 20 times with state forces trying to disperse roadblocks. The roadblock exacerbated tensions between Bolsonaro’s supporters and passers-by. The demonstrators violently targeted civilians during at least 10 of his events, including drivers trying to pass roadblocks. Still, there were also reports of violence directed at pro-Bolsonaro demonstrators, with hostiles firing near barricades, attempting to climb over them, or engaging in physical fighting at at least six events. did.

According to ACLED data, between October 30th and November 30th, Sao Paulo, Paraná, Mato Grosso, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso do Sul, Goias and Rondonia. Higher levels of demonstrations were also reported in the states of Minas Gerais and Pará, with Bolsonaro winning the majority of votes despite losing to Lula. Similarly, more than half of all pro-Bolsonaro violent demonstrations were reported in São Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, and Goias states (See map below).

Violence targeting party members and supporters declined in the weeks following the runoff. Instead, other forms of violence have emerged, such as targeted destruction of property. Since October 30, ACLED has documented multiple such incidents, including shootings at PT headquarters and the homes of party supporters, vandalism to water pipes, and arson. The far-right group also spread a boycott list of pro-Lula businesses in Rondonia and São Paulo, allegedly leading to the shooting of a pizzeria in Ziparana, Rondonia (G1, 4 November 2022). have become victims. On November 2, Bolsonaro’s supporters attacked journalists and destroyed equipment who were covering demonstrations against the election results in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande de Sul state, and Cuiaba, Mato Grosso state. Another journalist was beaten in Itajai, Caterina state, for uploading a video of a Bolsonaro supporter to his social media. Meanwhile, in Porto Velho, Rondonia, armed men opened fire on the headquarters. Rondonia Ovivo newspaper. The newspaper was allegedly targeted for its critical coverage of pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations (Committee to Protect Journalists, 17 November 2022).

Given Brazil’s history of political violence surrounding elections, the 2022 presidential election was associated with heightened levels of violence. Heading into the election’s first and runoff votes, the party’s representatives and supporters’ target surpassed his 2018 election. While drug trafficking groups continue to be responsible for many violent incidents, there has been an increase in the perpetration of violence by political party supporters, particularly among Bolsonaro’s support base. New forms of anarchy have emerged, including a surge in dissident pro-Bolsonaro demonstrations and indirect attacks aimed at the property of rival political party supporters.

Despite measures to address vulnerabilities in Brazil’s voting system and recognition of the election results by international and Brazilian institutions, including the Ministry of Defense, ACLED continues to observe demonstrations, sometimes violent. , contesting the election almost a month after voting. result. Ongoing moves by state agencies to strengthen the validity of election results continue to be rejected by large numbers of Bolsonaro supporters. From November 15, pro-Bolsonaro demonstrators set up additional roadblocks in the wake of a Supreme Federal Court order freezing the bank accounts of the alleged organizers of the mobilization (Gazeta do Povo , 18 November 2022). The exclusion of Bolsonaro’s request to cancel votes from some electronic voting machines and the decision to fine PL for filing complaints “in bad faith” have also sparked outrage among Bolsonaro’s supporters. (Brasil de Fato, 23 November 2022; Congresso em Foco, 23 November 2022). As President-elect Lula enters office on January 1, 2023, ongoing anxiety and deep polarization make it a difficult prospect for Brazilian voters to reconcile.

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