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PHOTOS: Bolsonaro makes Brazil’s bicentennial celebrations his own

President Jair Bolsonaro called Brazil’s bicentennial Wednesday an opportunity to celebrate the nation’s history, but critics say he has turned what should be a day of unity into an electoral event and fears he will use it to undermine next month’s elections in Latin America’s largest democracy.

Bolsonaro, who is trailing in opinion polls ahead of the October 2 presidential election, has urged Brazilians to flood the streets, and tens of thousands of his supporters marched in Brasilia, with similar crowds expected for a show of force in Rio de Janeiro.

The armed forces were giving military parades in both cities, in the presence of Bolsonaro.

The far-right nationalist has for years been on a mission to encourage Brazilian patriotism, choosing green and yellow as his own color. He has stuffed his administration with military officers and has repeatedly sought their support, most recently to question the credibility of the country’s electronic voting system.

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His attacks on the voting system raised widespread fears among his opponents that he might follow in the footsteps of former US President Donald Trump in rejecting the election results.

Bolsonaro arrived at the first event of the day, the military parade in Brasilia, accompanied by at least one businessman who allegedly participated in a private chat group that included comments in favor of a possible coup and military involvement in politics, which is being investigated by the Federal Police for its possible financing of anti-government actions. for democracy.

The crowd, dressed in green and yellow, chanted against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the poll favorite who is seeking to return to the position he held in 2003-2010. Speaking at a rally soon after, Bolsonaro made no mention of Brazil’s struggle for independence and instead focused on his accomplishments while criticizing da Silva’s Workers’ Party.

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