Bolsonaro announces he will address Brazil today – as protesters fully block roads across country


Furious supporters of the outgoing, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have caused roadblocks across the country in protest of last night’s election result which saw socialist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva placed back in power.

The roadblocks, which are in place across at least 12 Brazilian states, come ahead of a highly anticipated speech from Bolsonaro who said he would address the nation today.

Since his defeat was announced last night Bolsonaro has remained silent and is yet to concede defeat to his ideological rival, prompting fears about the orderly handover of power.

Veteran leftist and former President Lula beat him in the election with 50.83 per cent of the vote compared to 49.17 per cent on Sunday night.

Earlier today Brazil’s Federal Highway Police (PRF) said an independent truckers’ group had fully blocked roads in six states, but that figure has now jumped to 12.

Protesters have blocked highways with trucks, cars, vans and burning tyres in the central-western agricultural state of Mato Grosso, which largely supports Bolsonaro.

Furious supporters of the outgoing, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have caused roadblocks across the country in protest of last night's election result which saw socialist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva placed back in power. Pictured: Supporters of Bolsonaro blocking a highway in Planaltina, Brazil

Furious supporters of the outgoing, far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have caused roadblocks across the country in protest of last night’s election result which saw socialist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva placed back in power. Pictured: Supporters of Bolsonaro blocking a highway in Planaltina, Brazil 

Brazil's Federal Highway Police (PRF) said an independent truckers' group had fully blocked roads in six states, but that figure has now jumped to 12. Pictured: Truckers blocking the federal highway Via Dutra which runs from the eastern part of Sao Paulo to Rio de Janerio

Brazil’s Federal Highway Police (PRF) said an independent truckers’ group had fully blocked roads in six states, but that figure has now jumped to 12. Pictured: Truckers blocking the federal highway Via Dutra which runs from the eastern part of Sao Paulo to Rio de Janerio

Tyers burn blocking the BR-251 highway in Planaltina, Brazil on Monday afternoon. It comes after veteran leftist and former President Lula beat current President Bolsonaro in last night's election, with 50.83 per cent of the vote compared to 49.17 per cent on Sunday night

Tyers burn blocking the BR-251 highway in Planaltina, Brazil on Monday afternoon. It comes after veteran leftist and former President Lula beat current President Bolsonaro in last night’s election, with 50.83 per cent of the vote compared to 49.17 per cent on Sunday night

The protests come as outgoing President Bolsonaro is yet to break his silence on the election result. His radio silence has prompted fears that he will not accept the election. Pictured: Protesters set fire to tires on a highway in Planaltina, Brazil

The protests come as outgoing President Bolsonaro is yet to break his silence on the election result. His radio silence has prompted fears that he will not accept the election. Pictured: Protesters set fire to tires on a highway in Planaltina, Brazil

Paranagua’s port authority in Southern Brazil said one of the main roads giving access to the port was being blocked by protests, adding there was no immediate disruption to cargo movement.

Santos Port, where most of Brazil’s grains are exported around the world, also said cargo movement had not been affected yet.

But Normando Corral, president of farm group Famato, has warned that the roadblocks in top grain-growing states could disrupt shipments if they persist.

He said: ‘It’s too soon to say if it’s going to interfere with the flow of production, because the blockades started yesterday. I don’t know how long it will last.’

In the southern state of Parana, about 30 protesters were still blocking a road after authorities dispersed at least eight other blockages throughout the morning, according to the highway police.

Protesters hold up the Brazilian flag as tyres burn behind them. This is just one of the roadblocks across the country in Planaltina, Brazil. Police officers believe that full roadblocks are in place in 12 of the country's 26 states

Protesters hold up the Brazilian flag as tyres burn behind them. This is just one of the roadblocks across the country in Planaltina, Brazil. Police officers believe that full roadblocks are in place in 12 of the country’s 26 states

A Federal Highway Police officer remains among supporters of Bolsonaro as they block the highway between Rio de Janerio and Sao Paulo in Barra Mansa, in the state of Rio de Janerio

A Federal Highway Police officer remains among supporters of Bolsonaro as they block the highway between Rio de Janerio and Sao Paulo in Barra Mansa, in the state of Rio de Janerio 

It was not immediately clear if the protests were being organized by a particular group. Brazil has a powerful, loosely organized truckers' movement that is heavily pro-Bolsonaro. Pictured: A roadblock in Planaltina, Brazil, on Monday afternoon

It was not immediately clear if the protests were being organized by a particular group. Brazil has a powerful, loosely organized truckers’ movement that is heavily pro-Bolsonaro. Pictured: A roadblock in Planaltina, Brazil, on Monday afternoon

Paranagua's port authority in Southern Brazil said one of the main roads giving access to the port was being blocked by protests, adding there was no immediate disruption to cargo movement

Paranagua’s port authority in Southern Brazil said one of the main roads giving access to the port was being blocked by protests, adding there was no immediate disruption to cargo movement

It was not immediately clear if the protests were being organized by a particular group. Brazil has a powerful, loosely organized truckers’ movement that is heavily pro-Bolsonaro.

Roadblocks are also in place in the country’s largest cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro left his residence this morning without making a statement and headed to the presidential offices, the Planalto palace.

His radio silence has raised fears that he might contest the election, after he campaigned for months alleging election fraud and a supposed conspiracy against him.

Throughout the election campaign, which split the country in two, Lula criticized his nemesis for not acknowledging the result on Sunday evening, as the president-elect called for ‘peace and unity’ and pleaded with Bolsonaro’s loyal followers to ‘lay down their arms’ following the divisive election.

The victory marks a stunning turnaround for the charismatic but tarnished leftist heavyweight, who left office in 2010 as the most popular president in Brazilian history, fell into disgrace when he was imprisoned for 18 months on since-quashed corruption charges, and now returns for an unprecedented third term at age 77.

Bolsonaro walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia today in the first image of the Brazilian President since his election loss. The outgoing leader has remained silent since it was announced he lost to socialist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last night

Bolsonaro walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia today in the first image of the Brazilian President since his election loss. The outgoing leader has remained silent since it was announced he lost to socialist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva last night 

Protesters blocked highways with trucks, cars, vans and burning tyres in the central-western agricultural state of Mato Grosso, which largely supports Bolsonaro. Police have now confirmed full roadblocks are in place throughout 12 of the country's 26 states

Protesters blocked highways with trucks, cars, vans and burning tyres in the central-western agricultural state of Mato Grosso, which largely supports Bolsonaro. Police have now confirmed full roadblocks are in place throughout 12 of the country’s 26 states

Demonstrators burn tyres as they block federal roads during a protest the day after the Brazilian presidential election

Demonstrators burn tyres as they block federal roads during a protest the day after the Brazilian presidential election

Demonstrators burn tyres as they block federal roads during a protest the day after the Brazilian presidential election

Demonstrators burn tyres as they block federal roads during a protest the day after the Brazilian presidential election

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (centre) walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (centre) walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday

The presidential convoy with Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro is seen at Alvorada Palace on Monday following his election defeat

The presidential convoy with Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is seen at Alvorada Palace on Monday following his election defeat

Brazil's former President and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrates his victory at a rally in Sao Paulo

Brazil’s former President and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrates his victory at a rally in Sao Paulo

Supporters await the results on presidential runoff day on October 30, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters await the results on presidential runoff day on October 30, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Tens of thousands of people gather in the streets of Sao Paulo as news of the election result began to spread

Tens of thousands of people gather in the streets of Sao Paulo as news of the election result began to spread

All eyes are now on how Bolsonaro will react to the election results – but for now, there remains radio silence from the defeated incumbent, who is often compared to former US president Donald Trump. 

Bolsonaro’s closest allies said they have tried to speak to him last night, but they were told the president went to sleep after he saw the election results, reports Globo

Meanwhile, Lula used his first speech as president-elect to say that he was determined to heal a nation wounded by a bitter campaign.

‘We’ll have to dialogue with a lot of angry people… This country needs peace and unity. The Brazilian people don’t want to fight anymore,’ the ex-metalworker said, his gravelly voice even raspier than usual at the close of a gruelling campaign.

Lula continued: ‘No one is interested in living in a family where discord reigns. It is time to bring families together again, to rebuild the bonds of friendship broken by the criminal propagation of hate. No one is interested in living in a divided country, in a permanent state of war.

‘It’s time to put down the weapons, which should never have been wielded. Guns kill. And we choose life.’

The election marks a stunning comeback for the leftist former president and a punishing blow to Bolsonaro, the first Brazilian incumbent to lose a presidential election.

Supporters of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro pray as they watch the vote count of the presidential run-off election in Brazil on Sunday night

Supporters of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro pray as they watch the vote count of the presidential run-off election in Brazil on Sunday night

A supporter of Lula screams with happiness after the former president is re-elected following a tense election

A supporter of Lula screams with happiness after the former president is re-elected following a tense election 

A supporter of Bolsonaro cries as the election results show the incumbent lost the election to Lula

A supporter of Bolsonaro cries as the election results show the incumbent lost the election to Lula 

Lula's supporters react with elation after it is confirmed that he has forced the sitting President out of office

Lula’s supporters react with elation after it is confirmed that he has forced the sitting President out of office

Bolsonaro shortly after casting his vote in Rio de Janerio this morning - he has ended up losing the election by a hair

Bolsonaro shortly after casting his vote in Rio de Janerio this morning – he has ended up losing the election by a hair

Who are Brazil’s Presidential candidates?

Jair Bolsonaro

Bolsonaro is the current sitting President of Brazil, the 38th in the country’s history.

A retired military officer, he is a far-right politician who has been in power since 2019. 

He is staunchly against LGBT+ rights and follows strict Christian values.

While in power he has hit headlines for spreading misinformation during the coronavirus pandemic and seeing further erasure of the country’s Amazon rainforest.

Bolsonaro’s administration has been marked by incendiary speech, his testing of democratic institutions and his widely criticized handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But he also built a devoted base by defending conservative values and presenting himself as protection from leftist policies that he says infringe on personal liberties and produce economic turmoil. 

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Known as Lula, da Silva is a former Brazilian President and ex-trade union leader.

Born into poverty, Lula organized strikes against Brazil’s military government in the 1970s.

Da Silva is credited with building an extensive social welfare program during his 2003-2010 tenure that helped lift tens of millions into the middle class as well as presiding over an economic boom. 

He is an old-school leftist and has campaigned to resume international relations and cooperation, the majority of which was stopped under the current President.

He has promised to eradicate hunger and poverty, both big problems in Brazil.

He is also strong on environmental concerns and pledges to protect the Amazon. 

He was arrested in 2018 over a corruption scandal which saw him sent to prison. 

Da Silva was jailed for for 580 days for corruption and money laundering. 

His convictions were later annulled by Brazil’s top court, which ruled the presiding judge had been biased and colluded with prosecutors. That enabled da Silva to run for the nation’s highest office for the sixth time. 

The vote was a rebuke for the fiery far-right populism of Bolsonaro, who emerged from the back benches of Congress to forge a novel conservative coalition but lost support as Brazil ran up one of the worst death tolls of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In contrast to Bolsonaro’s silence, congratulations for Lula poured in from foreign leaders, including US President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.

His victory marks the first time since Brazil’s 1985 return to democracy that the sitting president has failed to win re-election. Lula’s inauguration is scheduled to take place on January 1.

In his victory speech overnight, Lula said: ‘I consider myself to be a candidate that has had a process of reconstruction in Brazilian politics. Because they (rivals) tried to bury me alive. And I am here, I am here to govern the country from a very difficult situation. 

‘But with the help of the people, we will find a way out for this country to return to being democratic, peaceful, for us to support parents, families, to build the world that Brazil needs.’

‘This is not my victory, nor of the PT (Workers’ Party), nor of the parties that supported me in the campaign. It a victory of the immense democratic movement that was more than the political parties, of individual interests, of ideologies, for democracy to win. 

‘On this historic October 30, the majority of Brazilians made it very clear that they want more and not less democracy. 

‘That they want more and not less social inclusion. That they want more and not less opportunities for all. They want more and not less respect and understanding among Brazilians. 

‘To summarise, they want more freedom, equality, fraternity in our country.’

He later added: ‘I will govern for 215 million Brazilians, and not just for those who voted for me. There are not two Brazils. We are one country, one people, one great nation.’ 

Bolsonaro had been leading throughout the first half of the count and, as soon as Lula overtook him, cars in the streets of central Sao Paulo began honking their horns.

People in the streets of Rio de Janeiro’s Ipanema neighbourhood could be heard shouting: ‘It turned!’

Bolsonaro, 67, who for years has made baseless claims that Brazil’s voting system is prone to fraud last year openly discussed refusing to accept the results of the vote.

Electoral authorities are bracing for him to dispute the outcome, sources told Reuters, and made security preparations in case his supporters stage protests. 

Two hours after electoral authorities declared Lula the winner, Bolsonaro and his campaign had made no public statements about the result.

Lula is promising to govern beyond his leftist Workers’s Party. He wants to bring in centrists and even some leaning to the right who voted for him for the first time, and to restore the country’s more prosperous past. 

Yet he faces headwinds in a politically polarized society where economic growth is slowing and inflation is soaring.

His victory marks the first time since Brazil’s 1985 return to democracy that the sitting president has failed to win re-election, and extended a wave of recent leftist victories in the region, including Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

Thomas Traumann, an independent political analyst, compared the results to Biden’s 2020 victory, saying Lula is inheriting an extremely divided nation.

‘The huge challenge that Lula has will be to pacify the country,’ he said. ‘People are not only polarized on political matters, but also have different values, identity and opinions. What’s more, they don’t care what the other side’s values, identities and opinions are.’

As Lula spoke to his supporters – promising to ‘govern a country in a very difficult situation’ – Bolsonaro had yet to concede the election.

Lula’s headquarters in a central Sao Paulo hotel only erupted once the final result was announced, underscoring the tension that was a hallmark of this race.

‘Four years waiting for this,’ said Gabriela Souto, one of the few supporters allowed in due to heavy security.

Lula has pledged to boost spending on the poor, re-establish relationships with foreign governments and take bold action to eliminate illegal clear-cutting in the Amazon rainforest. 

A supporter of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro cries as he hears his candidate has lost the election

A supporter of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro cries as he hears his candidate has lost the election

A supporter of the President elect Lula celebrates by waving a giant Brazilian flag on the streets of Sao Paulo

A supporter of the President elect Lula celebrates by waving a giant Brazilian flag on the streets of Sao Paulo

Elected president for the leftist Workers Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks after winning the presidential run-off election

Elected president for the leftist Workers Party (PT) Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks after winning the presidential run-off election

Other supporters of Bolsonaro touch national flags as they appear to pray or weep in devastation

Other supporters of Bolsonaro touch national flags as they appear to pray or weep in devastation

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, center, hold hands with a supporter after voting in a presidential run-off election in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, center, hold hands with a supporter after voting in a presidential run-off election in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A supporter of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reacts while gathering with fellow supporters on the day of the Brazilian presidential election run-off

A supporter of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reacts while gathering with fellow supporters on the day of the Brazilian presidential election run-off

Supporters of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who is running for another term, wait for election results after polls closed

Supporters of incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who is running for another term, wait for election results after polls closed

A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds her hands in prayer as she watches partial results after polls closed in a presidential run-off election in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A supporter of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro holds her hands in prayer as she watches partial results after polls closed in a presidential run-off election in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

US President Joe Biden was among the first to congratulate the incoming President: ‘I send my congratulations to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his election to be the next president of Brazil following free, fair, and credible elections,’ Biden said in a statement. 

‘I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,’ he added.

Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron said: ‘Together, we will join forces to take up the many common challenges and renew the ties of friendship between our two countries.’

Voting stations in the capital, Brasilia, were already crowded by morning and, at one of them, retired government worker Luiz Carlos Gomes said he would vote for Lula. 

‘He’s the best for the poor, especially in the countryside,’ said Gomes, 65, who hails from Maranhao state in the poor northeast region. ‘We were always starving before him.’

Outside Bolsonaro’s home in Rio de Janeiro, ground-zero for his support base, a woman on a lorry delivered a prayer over a speaker, then sang excitedly, trying to generate some energy.

But supporters decked out in the green and yellow of the flag barely responded. Many perked up when the national anthem played, singing along loudly with hands over their hearts.

Most opinion polls before the election gave a lead to Lula, though political analysts agreed the race grew increasingly tight in recent weeks.

For months, it appeared that Lula was headed for easy victory as he kindled nostalgia for his presidency, when Brazil’s economy was booming and welfare helped tens of millions join the middle class.

But while Lula topped the Oct. 2 first-round elections with 48 per cent of the vote, Bolsonaro was a strong second at 43 per cent, showing opinion polls significantly underestimated his popularity. Many Brazilians support Bolsonaro’s defense of conservative social values and he has shored up support with vast government spending.

Concerns have now been raised that if Bolsonaro, dubbed ‘Trump of the Tropics’, were to lose, he may refuse to admit defeat.

Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate partial results after polls closed in the country's presidential run-off election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate partial results after polls closed in the country’s presidential run-off election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of the Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate the results of the second round of presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of the Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate the results of the second round of presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil's former president and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva kiss as they gather on the day of the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil’s former president and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva kiss as they gather on the day of the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

A supporter of Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures during the vote count of the presidential run-off election in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A supporter of Brazilian former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva gestures during the vote count of the presidential run-off election in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of candidate Jair Bolsonaro of Liberal Party gather on presidential runoff day on October 30, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of candidate Jair Bolsonaro of Liberal Party gather on presidential runoff day on October 30, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil's former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, celebrate partial results after polls closed in the country's presidential run-off election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, celebrate partial results after polls closed in the country’s presidential run-off election, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of the Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate the results of the second round of presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of the Brazilian presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate the results of the second round of presidential elections, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A woman who supports Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds her hands in prayer with tears in her eyes as she waits the results in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A woman who supports Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva holds her hands in prayer with tears in her eyes as she waits the results in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate while watching the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate while watching the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate while watching the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva celebrate while watching the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil's former President and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva cries during Brazil's presidential election run-off, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil’s former President and presidential candidate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva cries during Brazil’s presidential election run-off, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gesture while driving past Bolsonaro's home, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Supporters of Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro gesture while driving past Bolsonaro’s home, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil's President and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro holds a Brazilian flag, during the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil’s President and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro holds a Brazilian flag, during the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil's President and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro wipes her face during the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

A supporter of Brazil’s President and presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro wipes her face during the Brazilian presidential election run-off, in Brasilia, Brazil

Supporters of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro react to the results of the second round of presidential elections

Supporters of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro react to the results of the second round of presidential elections

A supporter of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro lowers his head as results come in

A supporter of Brazilian President and re-election candidate Jair Bolsonaro lowers his head as results come in

If he fails to accept the election result, there are fears his armed supporters will take to the streets in protest.

But on Friday night, he pledged to respect the election result, though possible accusations of rigging and backlash from his supporters loom large.

One concerned voter, on her way to a Lula rally in Sao Paolo, said she was concerned that Bolsonaro would ignore the electorate’s decision.

Marcia dos Santos, 27, said: ‘He is a dictator by nature, he and his family have attacked our state structures.

‘Everyone is worried. My mother does not want me to be out on the streets after the result. But we have got to come out, we need to come out to defend the vote.’

Her friend, 33-year-old teacher Antonia Luiz added: ‘We have had disaster after disaster with Bolsonaro. This is a chance to start putting the country right with Lula. He is a good man.’

The President previously came under fire for his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left more than 680,000 dead in Brazil, as well as his vitriolic style and disdain for political correctness.

However, in recent months, falling unemployment figures, slowing inflation and a recovering economy have given him a boost.

Mr Trump, who continues to falsely insist he beat President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, referred to the left-wing candidate as ‘a radical left lunatic who will quickly destroy your country’.

He had previously referred to the current Brazilian President as a ‘great friend’.

Mr Trump said: ‘Jair Bolsonaro and I have become great friends over the past few years for the people of the United States.

‘He is a wonderful man and has my complete and total endorsement.’

Concerns have now been raised that if Bolsonaro, dubbed 'Trump of the Tropics', was to lose, he could refuse to admit defeat. If he refuses to accept the election result, there are fears his armed supporters will take to the streets in protest. Pictured: Brazilian's heading to the polling station this afternoon

Concerns have now been raised that if Bolsonaro, dubbed ‘Trump of the Tropics’, was to lose, he could refuse to admit defeat. If he refuses to accept the election result, there are fears his armed supporters will take to the streets in protest. Pictured: Brazilian’s heading to the polling station this afternoon

Supporters of Brazil's current President Bolsonaro on election day in the country's capital Brasilia. The President previously came under fire for his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left more than 680,000 dead in Brazil, as well as his vitriolic style and disdain for political correctness

Supporters of Brazil’s current President Bolsonaro on election day in the country’s capital Brasilia. The President previously came under fire for his disastrous handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which left more than 680,000 dead in Brazil, as well as his vitriolic style and disdain for political correctness

President Biden’s administration quickly stepped in to add that it will move quickly to recognise whichever leader is democratically elected.

The government urged Brazil to ensure a ‘free, fair, credible, transparent and peaceful’ election, adding that it would review relations with the South American country if anti-democratic methods are used.

Earlier this month, one of Bolsonaro’s sons, Eduardo, met Trump supporters in the US where he alleged that his father would be ‘the victim of the largest electoral fraud ever seen’ – words almost identical to Trumps after he lost the 2020 election.

During the first-round election on October 2, 77-year-old Lula narrowly won the first-round election, entering the finale as the slight favourite.

Brazilians vote in Runoff Elections in New York to elect from one of the two Presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva

Brazilians vote in Runoff Elections in New York to elect from one of the two Presidential candidates Jair Bolsonaro and Lula da Silva

Brazilians smile in New York as they vote in Runoff Elections to elect from one of the two Presidential candidates

Brazilians smile in New York as they vote in Runoff Elections to elect from one of the two Presidential candidates

A Lula supporter leaves his phone with election officials at a polling station before casting their vote in the ballot in Florida. Florida has the second largest number of Brazilians voting in the United States

A Lula supporter leaves his phone with election officials at a polling station before casting their vote in the ballot in Florida. Florida has the second largest number of Brazilians voting in the United States

A voter in the polling station in New York, where Brazilians take part in Runoff elections for the presidential candidates

A voter in the polling station in New York, where Brazilians take part in Runoff elections for the presidential candidates 

A Brazilian voter in the polling station in New York, where nationals can take part in Runoff elections for the presidential candidates

A Brazilian voter in the polling station in New York, where nationals can take part in Runoff elections for the presidential candidates

Brazilians have been voting in New York during Runoff elections for the presidential candidates

Brazilians have been voting in New York during Runoff elections for the presidential candidates

Supporters of Brazil's former President Lula and candidate of the left Workers Party enjoy a beer at a bar in downtown Sao Paulo on election day

Supporters of Brazil’s former President Lula and candidate of the left Workers Party enjoy a beer at a bar in downtown Sao Paulo on election day

The final poll from Datafolha institute on Saturday revealed that 52 per cent of voters were in favour of the left-wing candidate, with 48 per cent supporting the current leader. But when Bolsonaro was last elected, he performed better than any predictions.

President Bolsonaro was seen wearing a yellow and green t-shirt casting his vote in Rio de Janeiro minutes after the polls opened while Lula voted in his hometown of São Bernardo do Campo in São Paulo state.

Greeting supporters outside the polling station, Bolsonaro said: ‘God willing, we’ll be victorious later today. Or even better, Brazil will be victorious.’

The left-wing candidate, however, said he was ‘confident in the victory of democracy’ and that he would seek to ‘restore peace’ in the divided nation if elected.

Brazilians still remain split over which man is best to lead their country as the fraught election closes.

Eliane de Oliveira, a 61-year-old lawyer who voted in Rio, said: ‘I think this has been the best government Brazil has ever had.’

She added that she was happy to have a Government that ‘was not corrupt’ alluding to the corruption scandal surrounding Lula.

He is credited with building an extensive social welfare programme during his 2003-2010 tenure that helped lift tens of millions into the middle class as well as presiding over an economic boom.

The man universally known as Lula left office with an approval rating above 80% – then-US president Barack Obama called him ‘the most popular politician on Earth’.

Supporters of Brazil's President Bolsonaro cheer on the leader on election day in Brazil's capital city Brasilia

Supporters of Brazil’s President Bolsonaro cheer on the leader on election day in Brazil’s capital city Brasilia 

But he then became mired in a massive corruption scandal and was jailed for 18 months, before his convictions were thrown out last year. The Supreme Court found the lead judge was biased, but Lula was not exonerated.

If he wins, he faces a hostile Congress dominated by Bolsonaro lawmakers and allies.

Others are happy to support the former leader. One P.E. teacher, Gustavo Souza, voted for Lula in ‘the hope of improving people’s lives’.

Like many, he said he was ‘scared’ about the outcome and had fears that Bolsonaro would not accept the result.

The teacher added: ‘People have become so radical. They will need some maturity… or it will turn into the third or fourth world war.’

A nation divided: Brazilians cry tears of joy (and upset) over election result as left-wing Lula topples far-Right populist Bolsonaro in tight race for presidency 

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva supporters were already breaking out the flares and crying with joy, while backers of Jair Bolsonaro dropped to their knees in Brazil’s capital, praying for an election miracle.

For almost three hours a nail-biting presidential vote count was too close to call, but as the leftist hero’s lead of less than two percentage points stuck, it became clear that no prayer could stop the inevitable.

‘The feeling is indescribable,’ said Carolina Freio, 44, a public servant, in a Copacabana bar as she welled up with tears after Lula clinched victory with 50.9 percent to Bolsonaro’s 49.1 percent.

‘He represents so much: gender equality, freedom. Lula will change everything,’ she said, overcome with emotion.

Lula’s supporters exploded with joy across the country. In economic powerhouse Sao Paulo, thousands crammed the streets in a sea of red, the colour used by his fans, clinking beers and setting off flares.

‘I won, it is my victory, like everyone I am crying with joy,’ said a jubilant Mary Alves Silva, 53, a retired banker with Lula stickers covering her arms and chest. She added that the win was also for the stricken Amazon rainforest and its Indigenous inhabitants.

At a bar in Leme, an upscale neighbourhood of Rio de Janeiro, technician Victoria Cabral remained on edge after the results came in.

A supporter of President-elect da Silva dances and celebrates after hearing the left-wing politician has won

A supporter of President-elect da Silva dances and celebrates after hearing the left-wing politician has won

For almost three hours a nail-biting presidential vote count was too close to call, but as the leftist hero's lead of less than two percentage points stuck, it became clear that no prayer could stop the inevitable

 For almost three hours a nail-biting presidential vote count was too close to call, but as the leftist hero’s lead of less than two percentage points stuck, it became clear that no prayer could stop the inevitable

One supporter said: 'Bolsonaro is racist, homophobic, thieving, misogynistic.... I can go on. Not that Lula is the ideal candidate, but he is so much better'

One supporter said: ‘Bolsonaro is racist, homophobic, thieving, misogynistic…. I can go on. Not that Lula is the ideal candidate, but he is so much better’

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva light flares during the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Supporters of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva light flares during the vote count of the presidential run-off election at the Paulista avenue in Sao Paulo, Brazil

‘I cannot understand how half of the country voted for Bolsonaro, it makes me feel very insecure,’ she said.

‘However, I think hope will return now. It goes beyond politics, we are talking about humanity. Bolsonaro is racist, homophobic, thieving, misogynistic…. I can go on. Not that Lula is the ideal candidate, but he is so much better.’

As the result crystalized, Bolsonaro supporters gathered in the capital Brasilia dropped to their knees and raised their hands skyward in prayer and supplication.

‘We need a miracle,’ a speaker said over the microphone, as Bolsonaro supporters clutched each other and wept.

‘I am still hoping the president will meet with the generals, we are hoping that things can change at any moment,’ said a 57-year-old dentist who did not want to be named.

Ruth da Silva Barbosa, a 50-year-old teacher, said she was ‘revolted’ by the outcome.

‘The Brazilian people aren’t going to swallow a faked election and hand our nation over to a thief,’ she said.

The country finds itself split in two after a dirty and divisive vote.

After months of attacking the electoral system, Bolsonaro maintained radio silence for hours after the result was announced, raising tension in Latin America’s biggest economy.

‘It scares me because I believe he is capable of anything, even though I think democracy will prevail,’ said 34-year-old software developer Larissa Meneses, taking part in the Sao Paulo festivities.

As the Lula party continued, Bolsonaro’s supporters quickly dispersed.

Rogerio Barbosa, selling Brazilian flags near a Sao Paulo metro station, was desolately packing up his merchandise.

‘I came in case Bolsonaro won, so I could sell his flag,’ said the 58-year-old.

‘I preferred Bolsonaro. God, family, anyway. I will see what Lula can do for us.’  

Grappling with influencers, dismissing Covid vaccines, a stabbing… and picking up a dwarf he mistook for a child: The events that marked Bolsonaro’s tumultuous Brazil presidency

By Jack Newman for MailOnline

Jair Bolsonaro’s presidency was never going to be quiet after a career built on controversy that regularly landed the far-right leader in hot water.

But the Brazilian nationalist still shocked many with his gaffes and outspoken remarks that defined his four-year reign.

The so-called ‘Trump of the Tropics’ is now preparing to bid farewell to power after suffering an election defeat to the left-wing Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Bolsonaro had claimed his rival’s return to power would usher in communism, legalised drugs, abortion and the persecution of churches, and he is yet to concede the vote. 

But the incumbent’s Christian conservative administration was widely criticised for its handling of the Covid pandemic and the worst deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in 15 years. 

Here, MailOnline gives a rundown of some of his most memorable moments in office. 

Bolsonaro walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia today in the first image of the president since his election loss

Bolsonaro walks at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia today in the first image of the president since his election loss

Stabbing during election campaign

Even during his election campaign in 2018, Bolsonaro was no stranger to headlines.

The controversial candidate was leading the polls when he was attacked while being carried shoulder high in the midst of a crowd in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, south east Brazil.

The horrifying moment was caught on several cameras as the assailant struck Bolsonaro in the stomach with a kitchen knife. 

The politician was seen collapsing and clutching his stomach in agony and is then rushed to hospital.

Initially his son Flavio Bolsonaro said the injury had been superficial, however, an hour later he posted another tweet saying the wound was ‘worse than we thought.’

Flavio said the puncture had hit parts of his father’s liver, lung and intestines and he lost a lot of blood.

The attacker was identified as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira who said he was on a ‘mission from God’.

Bispo was found not liable due to his ‘permanent paranoid delusional disorder’, and Bolsonaro was released from hospital a month after the stabbing.

LGBT backlash 

In 2019, Bolsonaro declared that Brazil must not become a ‘gay tourism paradise’, sparking fury.

He said: ‘If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life.

‘[But] Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families.’

The city of Rio de Janeiro was once named the best LGBT destination in the world and various Pride events, as well as the famous Carnival, attract millions of people from around the world. 

The president previously said he was ‘very proud’ to be homophobic and even once said that he would rather have a dead son than a gay one while also telling openly gay British actor Stephen Fry that ‘Brazilian society doesn’t like homosexuals.’

In another attack, he accused ‘homosexual fundamentalists’ of brainwashing children to ‘become gays and lesbians to satisfy them sexually in the future’.

He also once told a female lawmaker she was too ugly to rape, and said the birth of his daughter, after having four sons, was a ‘moment of weakness.’

And his latest comments have again caused anger in the LGBT community. 

Covid catastrophe

Despite contracting Covid, Bolsonaro regularly downplayed the virus and promoted conspiracy theories about the pandemic. 

Nearly 700,000 Brazilians died from Covid and many critics point the finger at the president. 

But at its outbreak, he asserted that ‘Brazilians never catch anything’ and even claimed they could jump into sewage without getting infected with anything.

He discouraged mask use and falsely suggested that people who got vaccinated against ran the risk of contracting AIDS.

Last year, a six-month inquiry heard devastating witness testimony from experts who said ineffective medicines were used on ‘human guinea pigs.’

Bolsonaro gives a thumbs up after being admitted to hospital with an abdominal problem in January

Bolsonaro gives a thumbs up after being admitted to hospital with an abdominal problem in January

The 1,200-page report accused Bolsonaro of ‘quackery’ for dismissing the virus as a ‘little flu’ and for delays in ordering vaccines – a vaccine which he refused to take himself because he claimed he had natural immunity.

Charges of ‘homicide’ and ‘genocide’ were even filed against Bolsonaro before they were withdrawn.  

He lashed out at vaccines and claimed the Pfizer jab could turn people into crocodiles and also lead to women growing facial hair. 

The Brazilian leader said: ‘In the Pfizer contract, it’s very clear: ”We’re not responsible for any side effects.”If you turn into a crocodile, that’s your problem.’

He continued: ‘If you become superhuman, if a woman starts to grow a beard or if a man starts to speak with an effeminate voice, they [Pfizer] won’t have anything to do with it.’

Bolsonaro also once said: ‘Some people say I’m giving a bad example. But to the imbeciles, to the idiots that say this, I tell them I’ve already caught the virus, I have the antibodies, so why get vaccinated?’ 

He also fired two health ministers during the pandemic, both trained doctors, and replaced them with an active-duty army general. 

Fuel price outrage during Queen funeral visit   

Bolsonaro used his trip to the UK for the Queen‘s funeral last month to share his shock at the price of UK’s petrol.

The Brazilian president stopped at a petrol station in London and posted a video about the cost of fuel. 

Standing at a Shell garage in London’s Bayswater Road, Brazil’s controversial president pointed at the electronic sign displaying the 161.9p price for a litre of unleaded.

Standing at a Shell fuel station in London's Bayswater Road, Brazil's controversial president pointed at the electronic sign displaying the price of fuel

Standing at a Shell fuel station in London’s Bayswater Road, Brazil’s controversial president pointed at the electronic sign displaying the price of fuel 

'I'm here in London, England, and the price of petrol is £1.61 this is about R $ 9.70 per litre,' he said

‘I’m here in London, England, and the price of petrol is £1.61 this is about R $ 9.70 per litre,’ he said

In a video filmed with mobile phone, Bolsonaro said the cost is ‘practically double the average of many Brazilian states’ and also claimed fuel in Brazil is among the cheapest in the world.

‘I’m here in London, England, and the price of petrol is £1.61 this is about R$9.70 per litre,’ he said.

‘Our gasoline is in fact, among the cheapest in the world,’ he claimed. 

The video was posted online the night before the Queen’s funeral.

Some on social media criticised Bolsonaro’s claim and said it is not a fair comparison as Brazil’s minimum wage is many times is lower than the UK’s.

Prices in Britain have fallen in recent months from highs of nearly £2 per litre.

Bolsonaro was also accused of using his London trip to be pictured among the world leaders in an attempt to boost his image and use it as a platform for his campaign.  

Wrestling with an influencer

Bolsonaro got tangled up with a social media influencer and tried to snatch his cellphone away during his campaign for reelection.

The leader was speaking to supporters  and posing for selfies outside Palácio da Alvorada, the presidential residence in the capital city of Brasilia, when Wilker Leão pushed his way through the crowd and confronted him.

Leão used his phone to film himself, repeatedly shouting at the president, calling him a ‘coward,’ ‘bum’ and the ‘darling’ of a pork-barrel faction in Congress.

Bolsonaro initially entered his car, but then reemerged and grabbed Leão’s shirt and forearm while reaching for his phone. 

Security guards pulled Leão, a former Army solider away. 

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confronted social media influencer Wilker Leão and tried to snatch his cellphone away on Thursday after Leão, a former Army soldier, heckled the far-right leader and called him a 'coward,' 'bum' and the 'darling' of a pork-barrel faction in Congress

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro confronted social media influencer Wilker Leão and tried to snatch his cellphone away on Thursday after Leão, a former Army soldier, heckled the far-right leader and called him a ‘coward,’ ‘bum’ and the ‘darling’ of a pork-barrel faction in Congress

Brazil's President Jail Bolsonaro grabs social media influencer  Wilker Leão by the arm in an attempt to take his cellphone during a confrontation in front of the presidential residence in the city of Brasilia on Thursday morning

Brazil’s President Jail Bolsonaro grabs social media influencer  Wilker Leão by the arm in an attempt to take his cellphone during a confrontation in front of the presidential residence in the city of Brasilia on Thursday morning

A journalist from news website G1 published a video of Leão’s comments and the subsequent altercation in which a security guard grabbed the social media figure and tossed him to the ground.

‘Don’t film this, don’t film this,’ Bolsonaro told his supporters as Leão was held by presidential security. ‘It is his right (to protest), but he was being impolite.’

Four minutes later, security allowed Leão to return to the scene and chat with Bolsonaro.

‘You can talk to me as much as you want,’ Bolsonaro told Leão. The two spoke for five minutes about plea bargaining, the budget, tax reform and weapon possession until the president decided to go back to his car and leave.

Bolsonaro and Leão had spoken in the past, including in April when the influencer identified himself as a corporal in the Army reserve.

Leão questioned Bolsonaro about comments he had made in which he said the work of Army corporals and soldiers was limited to cleaning. 

‘Stop, stop, stop… Why are you angry?’ Bolsonaro told him. ‘Why did you stay eight years [in the Army] and now you’re complaining?’

The YouTuber replied: ‘I am defending corporals and soldiers who, for example, carry out the armed security of (president), but outside the door they do not have a gun.’

Picking up a dwarf

In the summer of 2020, the Brazilian president mistakenly lifted up a dwarf into the air after mistaking the man for a young boy.

In the summer of 2020, the Brazilian president mistakenly lifted up a dwarf into the air after mistaking the man for a young boy

In the summer of 2020, the Brazilian president mistakenly lifted up a dwarf into the air after mistaking the man for a young boy

Bolsonaro was visiting Arcaju, the capital of the northeastern state of Sergipe, where he made the embarrassing gaffe.

Footage shows the leader picking up the masked man while he was flanked by security guards.

A woman in the background is heard asking: ‘Is that a child?’ 

Bolsonaro then puts him back on the ground and moves away while a crowd continues to throng around him.

Joking around as the Amazon burns

In 2019, huge wildfires ripped through the Amazon, sparking global concern about mass destruction to the ‘lungs of the world’.

But Bolsonaro dismissed their fears, while also claiming the fires were started by activists without evidence.

He ignored Emmanuel Macron’s ‘sensationalism’ after the French president accused him of weakening environmental laws and encouraging deforestation.

Bolsonaro even referred to himself as ‘Captain Chainsaw’ for allowing the demolition of the rainforest.

He was later seen joking around and taking selfies at a ceremony where he received military honours while massive protests gathered over the burning Amazon rainforest. 

Bolsonaro tries on a military beret during a ceremony at the same time as fires ripped through the Amazon

Bolsonaro tries on a military beret during a ceremony at the same time as fires ripped through the Amazon

Activists demonstrate during a protest against the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the fires in the Amazon rainforest, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Activists demonstrate during a protest against the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro over the fires in the Amazon rainforest, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Aerial picture showing smoke from a 2-kilometre stretch of fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest

Aerial picture showing smoke from a 2-kilometre stretch of fire billowing from the Amazon rainforest 

He was seen trying on a military beret, posing for a selfie and giving a toothy grin as he received military honors during a ceremony for Soldier Day at the Brazilian Army Headquarters in Brasilia, at the same time as the fires were rampaging.

Bolsonaro described rainforest protections as an obstacle to economic development, sparring with critics who note that the Amazon produces vast amounts of oxygen and is considered crucial in efforts to contain global warming.

Leading politicians, celebrities, environmentalists and even Carrie Johnson warned of the devastating impact of the fires ravaging the rainforest, which produces a fifth of the world’s oxygen. 

But Bolsonaro shrugged off criticism over his failure to act, saying the fires were an ‘internal matter’. 



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