Juiz de Fora, hápouco! pic.twitter.com/Z3M9S1pz6E— Blog do Noblat (@BlogdoNoblat) September 6, 2018
With elections just around the corner, a front-runner in Brazil's presidential race was stabbed in the midst of a crowd while he was campaigning with his supporters in the city of Juiz de Fora.
Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician often dubbed as the "Donald Trump of Brazil," was moving through the crowd on the shoulders of a supporter, giving cheerful thumbs-up when he was struck in the abdomen with what appeared to be a knife.
In the video posted on social media, Bolsonaro could be seen clutching his abdomen, writhing in pain before falling backwards into the arms of those around him. The politician was then rushed to the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital by his supporters who quickly lowered him to the ground and bundled him into a car.
Urgente: Bolsonarolevouumafacadaemato de campanhanacidade de Juiz de Fora (MG). Perfuraçãoatingiu o abdômen. Presidenciávelfoilevado para Santa Casa de Juiz de Fora para receberatendimentopic.twitter.com/YXuUG9gtvi— George Marques ????(@GeorgMarques) September 6, 2018
Shortly after the incident, Bolsonaro's son Flavio, who is also a candidate for the Brazilian Senate, said the wound was "only superficial," but gave a more serious statement couple of hours later.
"Unfortunately it was more serious than we had expected," he wrote. "He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital with a (blood) pressure of 10/3, almost dead. His condition now seems stabilized. Pray, please!"
According to the surgeon who tended to Bolsonaro’s injury, the wound went deep, cutting a vein in his abdomen and causing two other injuries in his intestines.
“The patient is now in intensive care. It is naturally a serious state because of the magnitude of the trauma but he is stable,” said surgeon Luiz Borsato.
“The trajectory of the wound provoked various injuries. Mr. Jair Bolsonaro arrived in a very serious condition at hospital with low pressure due to blood loss,” said Glaucio Souza, one of the surgeons who operated on the candidate.
According to local newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, the alleged attacker – identified as Adélio Bispo de Oliveira – was in custody after he was reportedly beaten up by Bolsonaro’s supporters.
Another local news website got it hands on the suspect’s police interview, in which he said he had been ordered by God to carry out the attack.
“The Minas Gerais police reacted rapidly. Uniformed officers who were there arrested the attacker,” said Major Flavio Santiago, a police spokesman.
Santiago went on to say such attacks on high-profile politicians in Brazil are rare.
“The candidates in this political process of getting close to their public, they have their security, police are there,” he said. “In Brazil we don’t have the culture of this type of attack, where someone can break through security and attack a candidate.”
However, that doesn’t appear to be the case whatsoever.
Just a couple of months ago, Rio city’s councilor, who was also one of the most popular human rights advocates, was brutally murdered by two men who fired nine shots at her. The politician’s driver, Anderson Pedro Gomes, was also killed in what appears to be a targeted assassination.
The same month, gunshots were fired at two buses in a campaign caravan for former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
However, Bolsonaro, rose to prominence despite his controversial homophobic and sexist comments, calls for lenient gun laws, and his support for Brazil's 1964-1985 military dictatorship, which tortured thousands of its opponents and executed hundreds more.
Also, the 63-year-old politician is facing trial before the Supreme Court for allegedly inciting hate and violence through his speech.
Banner / Thumbnail : REUTERS/Adriano Machado