Brazilian Presidential Candidate Bolsonaro Stabbed at Campaign Event

Sep 09, 2018, 04:50
Brazilian Presidential Candidate Bolsonaro Stabbed at Campaign Event

Jair Bolsonaro has undergone surgery for many stab wounds to his mid-section and is listed as being in stable condition after the attack which took place while he was out campaigning in the southeastern city of Juiz de Fora.

Bolsonaro's son Flavio said his father was stable after suffering wounds to the liver, lung and intestine.

But Flavio Bolsonaro, another son, said early Friday outside the hospital where his father was treated that he was conscious and the attack was a political boost.

Under Brazil's campaign laws, Bolsonaro's tiny coalition has nearly no campaign time on government-regulated candidate ad blocs on television and radio, so Bolsonaro relies on social media and rallies around the country to drum up support.

Social media footage showed the apparent attacker being grabbed by several Bolsonaro supporters before the video cuts out.

A knife-wielding man whose motive was unknown stabbed Bolsonaro during a rally Thursday in Juiz de Fora, a city about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro, as he was being carried on the shoulders of a supporter.

Brazil's upcoming presidential election on October 7 is set to be one of the most unpredictable votes in the country's history, with one third of voters undecided.

Bolsonaro is the frontrunner in the first-round of the presidential elections next month with 22 percent support, according to a poll published by the Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Ibope), a private media company in Brazil.

He has repeatedly said the country's notoriously violent police should increase their killing of suspected drug gang members and armed criminals.

"In this hard moment that our country is going through, we must rigorously safeguard human life and the defense of our institutions and democratic life", she said. It said the circumstances were being investigated.

Bolsonaro is one of the most controversial candidates in the current electoral round because he is a defender of Brazil's 1964-1984 military dictatorship.

But Bolsonaro also faces trial before the Supreme Court for speech prosecutors claim incited hate and rape.

Local police in Juiz de Fora confirmed to Reuters that the suspect, Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, 40, was in custody and that he appeared to be mentally disturbed.

This is not the first time in recent months that violence has touched politicians.

"We do not know if it was politically motivated", Corporal Vitor Albuquerque, a spokesman for the local police, said by telephone.

Other presidential candidates quickly denounced the stabbing and many of them made a decision to suspend their campaign events Friday. Bolsonaro is well ahead of other presidential hopefuls in the opinion polls.

Ciro Gomes, labor candidate, showed solidarity for his political opponent and repudiated "violence as political language". Fernando Haddad, who is expected to replace Lula da Silva on the Workers Party ticket, said the attack was "absurd and regrettable".

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