Brazil has seen nearly 450,000 Covid-19 related deaths since the virus reached the shores of the South American nation.

The actions of President Jair Bolsonaro have been criticized by Brazilians who claim that he has not done enough to protect citizens. Amidst the widespread criticism, the President took part in a motorcycle rally on Sunday, May 23. His supporters attended the rally praising their leader. Dissenters were seen on their balconies condemning the rally as it passed by their homes.

After a massive dip in Bolsonaro’s popularity ratings, primarily due to his handling of the Covid-19 crisis, the leader’s supporters turned up to prove the poll wrong. Designed to project strength the rally covered a distance of 40km (25 miles). The rally took a scenic route beside the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches. It came to a halt before reaching Flamengo beach at the Olympic Park.

Dismounting from his vehicle, the leader addressed his supporters. During the address, he said that his army would not force people to stay home. He said that administrative heads like mayors and governors were forcing people into their homes without any scientific proof, Al Jazeera reported.

On previous occasions, Bolsonaro has been noted dismissing the virus as merely a “little flu”. He continued to avoid a nationwide lockdown even as some local leaders took steps to lockdown parts of the country. Bolsonaro faces investigation by the Brazilian Senate for the failure of the administration to handle the Covid-19 crisis.

At the rally, reportedly organized by Bolsonaro’s friend, around 10,000 people turned up. The Guardian reported that the rally drew its fair share of protest. People from their balconies were seen screaming profanities at the motorcade as they passed by. A group of LGBT and left-wing protestors also gathered to voice their dissent.

Even as the President shared videos of the rally to show that his support had not diminished, the dip in popularity has encouraged former President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva. Speaking to the media, the Lula claimed that the Presidential victory of Joe Biden has encouraged. While his words seem to indicate that he will be in the 2022 elections, there have not been any official announcements of his candidacy.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro Getty Images | Mateus Bononi

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