Emulating President Jair Bolsonaro, militants who blindly support him have joined in the president’s criticisms of the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to promote the actions of September 7, when Brazil’s Independence is celebrated. Some of them even fail to comply with court decisions to encourage supporters to go to Brasília and São Paulo in a demonstration in support of Bolsonaro and who defends the removal of the 11 justices of the Supreme Court, as well as the recreation of the printed vote, even though the measure was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies. And the reaction of the STF led one of the prosecutors of the acts to prison.
This Friday, the president repeated his authoritarian speech and affirmed, without naming names, that the acts will serve as an ultimatum to one or two Supreme Court ministers. The message was given to Alexandre de Moraes and Luís Roberto Barroso, who currently also presides over the Superior Electoral Court (TSE). “We do not criticize institutions or Powers. We are punctual. We cannot admit that one or two people who, using the power of power, want to give a new direction to our country”, he stated during an event in Tanhaçu (BA).
That same day, journalist Wellington Macedo, who had been banned from using social media to talk about the demonstration, was arrested in Brasília. Last Sunday, along with another investigated, Macedo participated in a live broadcast in which he reinforced his criticisms of the Judiciary, in material that served as propaganda for the pro-Government acts.
Also at the virtual meeting was truck driver Marcos Antônio Pereira Gomes, who in the networks is known as “Zé Trovão, the voice of the roads”. Both are pointed out as organizers of anti-democratic acts. Among pocket-spirit groups, there was information that Trovão was also arrested, which was not confirmed by the STF or the Federal Police. The meeting was promoted by government blogger Oswaldo Eustáquio, who has already been detained in the scope of the investigation of the fake news, but eventually released.
The truck driver’s provocations were harsh. With no evidence, he accused ministers of selling sentences. “Since I i’m chipped, I’ll talk. They’re just selling habeas corpus,” he said. And he added: “You want to arrest me, arrest me among the people, not in my house.” The provocations were amplified on the 30th and 31st of August. He sent videos to other bloggers and YouTubers from the far right, calling for the protest, and even gave an interview to the radio station Jovem Pan News, which is aligned with Bolsonaro.
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The ban on these pocketnaristas using the nets was decided by Alexandre de Moraes, one of the two STF ministers with whom Bolsonaro bought a fight and from whom he asked for impeachment — a claim already rejected by the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG). Since August 20, Moraes prohibited financial donations to the movement of which Trovão and Macedo are part. Still, the group evaded the decision and changed the Pix key — the bank access code — to receive donations. Before, the amounts were credited to the “Brasil Livre” Pocket site. Now, they fall into the account of Luiz Antonio Mozzini, who uses the code name of Luís Mussini, and is a music producer for several country artists, such as Sérgio Reis, another of those investigated for these undemocratic acts.
Sought by EL PAÍS, Mussini claimed not to be aware of the ban and said that the donations came from all over Brazil. “Those who donate are Brazilians who want the good of the country. It is a movement that is not partisan”, he claimed. The funds, according to an announcement made by the group on YouTube, would be used to fund a camp that intends to gather up to 50,000 people on the Esplanada dos Ministérios, in Brasília. “We are going to carry out a general cleaning process in Brazil. And with that we need your donation”, says the statement.
Asked about the costs of the space and what amount had already been collected, Mussini did not respond. Among the Pocketnaristas, he is singled out as one of the closest people to singer Sérgio Reis, who announced radical acts during the protest, such as the closure of roads for up to three days, but turned back after becoming the target of the same Federal Police operation that it involved journalist Macedo and truck driver Zé Trovão.
During the same live last Sunday, Mussini admitted that he had been away from home, in Florianópolis (SC), for days. The concern was that, like ten of those investigated, the Federal Police would carry out a search and seizure warrant at their home. “It’s not out of fear. The person preserves himself. To preserve the cell phone and computer I use for work. We end up being treated as a criminal, but we are not a criminal. We are fighting for the good of our country, so that we can have freedom of expression”, he said at the time.
Another one who participates in the coordination of the Pocketnarist acts is the retired military officer Amarildo dos Santos, who identifies himself as a private investigator and creator of the Brasil Verde e Amarelo movement. In the report, he said he expected 500,000 people in Brasília to show their support for the president, most of them coming in 150 buses chartered with their own resources. “We were raising money to bring in more people, but Alexandre de Moraes blocked it,” he said. In one of the videos he published, Santos says that anyone who needed resources to travel to the city could look for him. To EL PAÍS, however, he claimed that he was only covering the costs of his trip.
While the coordinators are trying to raise financial support, in the WhatsApp and Telegram groups there are dozens of people offering places in caravans to participate in the events. Prices range from 30 reais, between the interior of São Paulo and the capital of São Paulo, up to 500 reais, between states in the South and Northeast to Brasília —these with the right to accommodation. In Santos’ view, next Tuesday’s acts do not pose any risk to democracy. “You can’t please everyone. Not even Jesus could. We are fighting for freedom of expression,” he claimed. The act will not include criticisms of the fight against the covid-19 pandemic, which has already victimized nearly 600,000 Brazilians; to the energy crisis; at cracks of the Bolsonaro family; to inflation, of almost 9%; to the high price of gasoline, of almost 7 reais, or to the dollar at 5.2 reais.
The support base for the president, who will take to the streets in the next few days, is based mainly on retired military personnel, evangelicals, truck drivers and rural producers. This last group promises to transport hundreds of people in around fifty buses from Mato Grosso, according to the report by the Pocket State Deputy Gilberto Cattani (PSL). In principle, the Soy Producers Association was one of the unofficial funders of the act. However, after its national president, Antonio Galvan, was investigated in the same investigation as Sérgio Reis, Zé Trovão and Macedo, the institution gave up acting. But he did not refrain from putting pressure on the institutions. When he was summoned to testify within the scope of this inquiry, Galvan arrived at the Federal Police headquarters in Sinop (MT) accompanied by a tractor. Dozens of tractors lined up to “escort” the farmer.
The National Association for the Defense of Farmers, Livestock and Producers of the Land (Andaterra) is still present at the front of the demonstrations. One of its representatives, director Jeferson da Rocha, was contacted for the report, but did not respond to contacts. Among the evangelicals, the biggest supporters of the acts are the pastors Silas Malafaia, from the Assembly of God Vitória em Cristo, and Claudio Duarte, from the Baptist Church. There is no evidence that they are raising funds, or doing more than speaking on behalf of the president.
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