Brazilians will be choosing their next president in less than two months, and it’s safe to say that tensions are running higher every day. This week, thousands of people took to the streets of the country’s largest cities, demanding that the current administration of Jair Bolsonaro accept the results of the October vote.
The protests follow Bolsonaro’s latest calls to diplomats raising concerns about the country’s voting system and his now-famous quote from last year’s Independence Day in Brazil: “Only God will remove me from power.” For many Brazilians, the fears echo worries in the U.S. — namely, that Bolsonaro might be following in Donald Trump’s footsteps, contesting votes even before elections have happened. The Brazilian president has also openly received praise from Trump supporters.
Bolsonaro’s main rival, the leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served in prison in 2018 and was charged for corruption and money laundering, drives strong opinions from voters, both good and bad. In recent polls, Lula holds a commanding lead over Bolsonaro — 47-29 percent.
In these photos are scenes from the streets of the capital, Brasília, and from São Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city and home to the University of São Paulo Law School, where many students and faculty have historically fought for democracy in the country. They said they were protesting against Bolsonaro’s reelection — but above all, they demanded respect for the outcome.