Conflict Alerts

Conflict Alerts # 437, 15 September 2021

Brazil: Protestors call for the impeachment of Bolsonaro
Lokendra Sharma

In the news
On 12 September, hundreds marched in various Brazilian cities, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, to protest against President Bolsonaro. Organized by the Free Brazil Movement (MBL) and other conservative groups, protestors demanded the impeachment of Bolsonaro over his regime's disastrous response to the pandemic and attempts to subvert the country's democratic institutions. 

Issues at large
First, Bolsonaro's unpopular policies and decisions. Even since assuming office in January 2019, President Bolsonaro has been embroiled in one controversy. This includes targeting indigenous peoples, deforestation and wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, disastrous handling of COVID-19 pandemic, which killed lakhs, efforts at undermining the country's democratic institutions and processes, and the faltering economy. The brewing discontent against him has been reflecting in his approval ratings, which have consistently fallen over the last few months.  

Second, the polarisation in society. Aware of the rising sentiment against him, Bolsonaro led massive rallies on Brazil's Independence Day on 7 September in an attempt to drum up support among his right-wing constituency. On the same day, anti-Bolsonaro protests were also organized across the country. Elaborate security arrangements had to be placed to ensure both camps do not cross paths only reflect society's level of polarisation. 

Third, Bolsonaro's tiff with the democratic institutions — judiciary, Parliament, and the electoral machinery. While Bolsonaro has shared an uneasy relationship with the judiciary since he assumed office, his attacks on the judiciary have become more intense this year. He has called on the Senate to impeach Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who has opened multiple investigations against him. He is also unhappy with the judiciary for exonerating former President Lula da Silva, making the latter eligible for the 2022 polls. This unhappiness was publicly displayed on 7 September when Bolsonaro and his supporters made attempts to intimidate the judiciary. Bolsonaro has also targeted the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), which is responsible for overseeing the upcoming Presidential elections in 2022, as well as the Congress. His call for a return to paper ballots from the currently used electronic voting system has been rejected by Brazil's Congress, while the TSE has launched a probe over Bolsonaro's allegations of election fraud. 

Fourth, the upcoming 2022 elections. Speaking to his supporters on 7 September in reference to the 2022 polls, Bolsonaro asserted: "Only God can remove me. I'm only coming out of this jailed, dead or victorious." While his approval ratings have fallen, his main contender, former President Lula da Silva from the leftist Worker's Party (PT), has topped pre-election survey polls. The 12 September protests have complicated this two-way contest by advocating a third way embodied in the slogan: "Neither Bolsonaro nor Lula". 

In perspective
First, while the recent protests by conservative groups and their position on a third way bereft of Bolsonaro or Lula da Silva have added a new dimension to the 2022 elections, it is likely that the presidential race will largely remain a two-way contest. The 7 September protests drew a less than expected crowd due to the absence of Lula's PT is an early sign. Whether or not MBL will join forces with PT in the run-up to the 2022 elections is to be seen.  

Second, Bolsonaro appears to have learnt a lesson or two from former US President Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 elections to Joe Biden. While Trump had intensified his 'elections were stolen' campaign only after his loss became evident, Bolsonaro has started preparing almost a year before elections take place in Brazil. It is likely that he may impede a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. 

Third, Brazil has entered into a very tumultuous period with stark domestic polarization, intensifying rivalry between the executive and other institutions of democracy, devastating pandemic, faltering economy, environmental destruction and wildfires in the Amazon. The domestic situation is only going to get worse as the 2022 elections get closer.

October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 447
The US: Protests against the Texas anti-abortion law
October 2021 | Conflict Alert # 444
Brazil: Anti-Bolsonaro protests across the country

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 441
Yemen: Houthis continue to capture territories
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 439
Europe: Pride Marches in Serbia and Ukraine
September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 435
Guinea: Another coup in Africa

September 2021 | Conflict Alert # 431
Climate Change: Hurricane Ida destructs the US Gulf Coast

August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 422
Europe: Measures to curb pandemic trigger protests
August 2021 | Conflict Alert # 418
Peru: Protests a sign of challenges facing Castillo
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 411
Wildfires: Siberia to the US

July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 409
Bosnia: 26 years after the Srebrenica Massacre
July 2021 | Conflict Alert # 405
Colombia: Two months of protests
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 399
Myanmar: New UNGA resolution

June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 397
Myanmar: The Aung San Suu Kyi trial begins
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 390
Burkina Faso: Another massacre in Africa
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 386
Nigeria: Another mass abduction grips Niger state
June 2021 | Conflict Alert # 385
Colombia: The protests continue
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 382
Israel-Hamas ceasefire: The long road to peace
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 380
Colombia: Three weeks of protests
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 378
Israel-Palestine: Who wants what?
May 2021 | Conflict Alert # 374
Yemen: The Battle for Marib rages on
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 371
Pakistan: Meetings with Afghan leaders

April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 369
Israel-Syria: Continuing Missile Strikes
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 362
Iran: Another act of
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 358
India: Another Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh
April 2021 | Conflict Alert # 356
Global Gender Gap Report 2021: Main Takeaways
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 353
Niger: 137 massacred in the latest attack by gunmen
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 351
Yemen: Saudi Arabia announces ceasefire
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 347
Australia: Women fight against sexual violence 
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 345
The US: The George Floyd trial begins
March 2021 | Conflict Alert # 340
Syria: UN report calls for a complete ceasefire

February 2021 | Conflict Alert # 333
South Korea: The 'Comfort Women' issue returns to haunt
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 222
Russia: Pro-Navalny protests turn anti-government 
January 2021 | Conflict Alert # 220
COVID-19: The Vaccine Wars

December 2020 | Conflict Alert # 200
India: Farmers' protests intensify as deadlock persists

November 2020 | Conflict Alert # 191
Pakistan: Anti-French protests called off
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 174
Bangladesh: Protests intensify against sexual violence
October 2020 | Conflict Alert # 167
India crosses 6 million-mark in COVID-19 cases
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 166
Pakistan: The persisting polio problem
September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 156
Pakistan: Targeted Violence continues in Waziristan

September 2020 | Conflict Alert # 154
The anti-Racist Protests in the US: Between
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 148
Israel and UAE normalize relations

August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 146
Bolivia: Protests against the Election postponement
August 2020 | Conflict Alert # 138
In Iraq, the protestors return to the streets 
July 2020 | Conflict Alert # 118
J&K: Geelani's Exit and Continuing Violence
June 2020 | Conflict Alert # 105
Black Lives Matter brings the US to its knees
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 86
Libya: Khalifa Haftar announces ceasefire 
May 2020 | Conflict Alert # 81
India: The surge in violence in J&K
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 71
Afghanistan: 300 Taliban prisoners released

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 67
Syria: New UN Report on Idlib

April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 64
A lethal impact on the Refugee/Migrant Camps 
April 2020 | Conflict Alert # 63
Indigenous Communities battle a complete wipeout 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 51
Coronavirus & China: Fall in numbers 

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 47
Coronavirus & Nepal: In the second stage, cancels

March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 44
Two Presidents in Afghanistan
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 42
'Aurat March': A New beginning across Pakistan 
March 2020 | Conflict Alert # 38
Sri Lanka withdraws from 30/1 Geneva Resolution
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 35
A ceasefire between Israel, Islamic Jihad in Gaza

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 34
Libya: rivals withdraw from Geneva peace talks
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 33
India: Violence in Delhi
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 32
Afghanistan: Seven Days of Peace
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 31
Climate Change Fallouts: Impacts the Bird population

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 28
Pakistan: Court convicts LeT founder Hafiz Saeed
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 27
Pakistan: Suicide terrorism returns to haunt Quetta

February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 26
Afghanistan: The US-Taliban Seven Day Deal
February 2020 | Conflict Alert # 24
Israel: Violence in post  Trump-deal
January 2020 | Conflict Alert # 20
Kenya: Al Shabab and a week of killings
December 2019 | Conflict Alert # 19
Citizenship Amendment Bill:2019

November 2019 | Conflict Alert # 18
Lebanon: PM Hariri quits, but protests continue 
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 16
Bolivian unrest
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 15
Hundreds protest in Haiti

October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 14
Protests rock Chile
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 13
Hong Kong Violence: A divide within
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 12
Spain: The trouble in Catalonia
October 2019 | Conflict Alert # 11
Turkey's Offensive in Syria

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 9
Africa to be Polio Free
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 7
Myanmar: Teenage girls traded as brides to China

August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 6
Moscow Protests: Thousands rally in Moscow
August 2019 | Conflict Alert # 3
Jordan Restores diplomatic ties with Qatar