Buenos Aires Weather | Brazil election hit by outcry over roadblocks

Brazil’s election boss on Sunday announced the lifting of traffic police roadblocks that had “delayed” voters in a high-stakes presidential election, after the blockades sparked an outcry from the left.

“A decision has been taken to put an end to these operations to avoid voter delay,” senior electoral judge Alexandre de Moraes told a press conference just over an hour before the polls closed. .

Leaders of the leftist Workers’ Party (PT) have shared numerous videos on social media of buses carrying voters stopped at roadblocks, mostly in the electoral stronghold of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010 ).

Lula, 77, wrote that “what is happening in the northeast is unacceptable”.

However, Moraes said that “no bus was turned away and everyone could vote”.

On Saturday night, the Superior Court of Elections banned any traffic policing (PRF) operation that would inconvenience voters.

PT President Gleisi Hoffman wrote on Twitter that she had demanded the arrest of traffic police chief Silvinei Vasques for “non-compliance” with the decision.

The controversial Vasques posted an Instagram Story on Sunday morning urging Brazilians to vote for far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro.

Sao Paulo’s Folha newspaper reported more than 500 roadblocks by midday, 70% more than in the first round of the October 2 elections.

“PRF agents are preventing voters from voting in Garanhuns, Lula’s birthplace,” PT Senator Humberto Costa wrote on Twitter, sharing a video showing a bus stopped at a roadblock.

According to the news site O Globo, around 100 indigenous people in Querencia, in the central western state of Mato Grosso, complained that they were unable to vote due to the lack of public transport.

The newspaper also reported 200 kilometers (124 miles) of traffic jams in the Rio de Janeiro metropolitan area.

Early on Sunday, the metro in Belo Horizonte, capital of the key state of Minas Gerais, was not running for free, as ordered by electoral authorities.

This was only implemented in the middle of the day after Judge de Moraes intervened.

Analysts said abstention in Brazil’s poorer regions is a factor that could significantly impact an extremely tight race.

In a first round of voting, Lula came out on top with 48% of the vote, against 43% for the incumbent.

“A coup is underway, with the use of the PRF to prevent the poor from voting for Lula,” political scientist Christian Lynch tweeted.

De Moraes said the situation had been resolved and “there will be no postponement of the end of the vote”.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement it was “very concerned” about the operation.

“Authorities must immediately respect the court’s decisions, suspend all operations that could lead to voter suppression, and ensure that all voters can exercise their right to vote freely and safely.”

On social media, the hashtag #Deixeonordoestevotar (let the northeast vote) has gone viral in Brazil.

Comments are closed.