Bolsonaro Calls on Supporters to Remove Brazil Roadblocks

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro called on his protesting supporters to dismantle hundreds of roadblocks, saying these harm the economy and aren’t a legitimate form of demonstrating.

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In a video posted on Twitter on Wednesday, Bolsonaro said that holding protests elsewhere “is very welcome, it’s part of our democracy”.

Supporters of the president who refuse to accept his defeat in Sunday’s election have been taking to the streets in the past few days and blocking major highways across the country. Associations for agribusiness, transportation and supermarkets have disapproved of the blockages, warning they were disrupting the supply of food and medicine.

The number of road blocks has fallen to 86 from nearly 170 a day ago, the federal highway police posted on Twitter early Thursday. Police has been trying to remove illegal blockages since the Supreme Court ordered all highways to be cleared, imposing heavy fines on protesters who refuse to do so.

As road protests decreased, some supporters of the outgoing president congregated outside army bases, criticizing the electoral process and holding signs calling on the military to intervene to overturn the official results.

According to local media outlet G1, on Wednesday there were demonstrations in front of military installations in at least 24 states as well as in the Federal District, where the capital Brasilia is located. Bolsonaro, a former army officer, has strong support among the military, though the constitution forbids them from interfering in politics.

The president appeared grudgingly to accept his defeat in a speech on Tuesday. Although he didn’t formally concede, he said he would follow the constitution, and has ordered his chief of staff to begin the transition process.

Read More: Bolsonaro Ally Starts Transition Process

The protests, which threaten to disrupt Brazil’s key agriculture sector, are being held after the president lost to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva by a margin of less than 2 percentage points, the tightest result in a presidential runoff in the country’s recent history.

(Updates with declining number of road blocks in fourth paragraph.)

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