Two weeks ago, Brazil’s Workers party treasurer Marcelo de Arruda was killed at his home on his fiftieth birthday. This happened during a party on July 9 when a Bolsonaro—Brazil’s current president—supporter invaded the event and shot him three times. The attack came just two days after another Bolsonaro supporter threw a crude home-made device containing feces into the crowd at a Lula campaign rally in Rio de Janeiro.
Lula da Silva is a former president and is now running to get his old office back. All the opinion polls predict he will win in the first round. The killing has triggered nationwide protests, accusing the rightwing president and his supporters of engineering the killing.
In São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, where the party has its main base, protests began with an action on the late evening in front of the Municipal Theater in downtown district. Two days later, protesters gathered in front of the Assis Chateaubriand São Paulo Art Museum (MASP) to call for justice for Marcelo and to stand against the political violence that has escalated in recent weeks. During the demonstration, Laércio Ribeiro, president of the Municipal Directory of the Workers’ Party of São Paulo, announced that the Civil Police of Paraná concluded that there was no political motivation in Marcelo’s murder. The perpetrator, Jorge Guaranho, will be indicted for double murder.
According to The Guardian, this is the latest murder of an opposition in Brazilian politics. Political assassinations gathered speed in 2016 with the impeachment of the workers’ party hand-picked successor, Dilma Rousseff, and the jailing of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva two years later. Lula was accused of corruption. Lula denied the charges, saying his arrest was politically motivated. On July 17, during a demonstration in Foz do Iguaçu in memory of Arruda, his brother appealed for calm, saying “Regardless of the political side you’re on, we have to condemn, with all our might, any kind of political violence. We cannot accept it. It must be clear that it is not against the law to belong to or support any political party. What is forbidden, what is a crime, is to kill people. This must be condemned!”
As the presidential election set for this coming September draws near, there is a growing fear among the population that the violence might get bloodier.
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