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“This country does not want setbacks, does not want gender ideology in schools, does not want to deregulate drugs. This country respects life from its conception and does not want communism,” Bolsonaro said in Juiz de Fora, in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais.
Bolsonaro chose that city for his first campaign rally that began this Tuesday because it was there that on September 6, 2018, he was stabbed by a subject who tried to assassinate him with a month before the elections that brought him to power.
“It is the city of my rebirth, where my life was saved by our creator,” said Bolsonaro, who according to polls begins the campaign with a voting intention close to 30%.
“We take off where they tried to stop us in 2018,” he said alluding to the attack, to then encourage Brazilians to face the electoral process as “a fight for freedom” and to prevent “communism” from taking hold in the country.
“They pay lip service proclaiming social justice, but the truth is quite different and they push people into misery,” said Bolsonaro, who cited Venezuela as a “proof of the wrong choices” that voters can make.
Without mentioning his adversary once, Bolsonaro referred to the corruption scandals that marked the administrations of the progressive Workers’ Party (PT), to which the crowd responded again and again shouting “Lula thief, your place is in prison”..
The president, a captain in the Army reserve, recalled that he swore “to give his life for the homeland as a military man” and affirmed that now, “as a citizen”, he keeps the oath and will do “everything for the freedom” of Brazilians.
He also reiterated his call for a great national event on September 7, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Brazil’s Independence.
“Next September 7, we will all take to the streets for the last time to commemorate, first, our independence, and second, our guaranteed freedom,” he declared.
His wife, Michelle Bolsonaro, also took part in the ceremony. A fervent evangelist, Michelle asked for the “help of the good God” and the “protection of heaven, love and peace” against “an enemy that only wants to steal, kill and destroy”.
Editor’s note: Quotes featured in this article were translated from Spanish to English for publication.