Bolsonaro Dismisses Chances of Protests Breaking Out in Brazil

Bruce Douglas

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said his government is prepared for any unrest, as he expressed his concern about the wave of protests across South America.

He said though he didn’t expect trouble in Brazil.

“We always have to be prepared so that we are not surprised by events,” he told reporters at a military ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. “There is no reason whatsoever, as we understand, for this movement to come here.”

Street protests have broken out in various countries across the continent, from Ecuador and Colombia to Bolivia and Chile. While the causes are distinct, in every country the size of the protests and the speed at which they turned violent have surprised the authorities.

So far there have been no major demonstrations in Brazil, although the recent release from jail of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva may energize the opposition.

Read more: Unequal and Irate, Latin America Is Coming Apart at the Seams

In his comments on Saturday, Bolsonaro said that protests in some nations, such as Chile, had gone too far.

“They’re not demonstrations,” he said. “They’re acts of terrorism.”

Amazon Query

Questioned over his government’s policies toward the Amazon rain forest, Bolsonaro said international criticism of the increase in forest fires there was part of an “insidious campaign to target the Brazilian government.”

The president also confirmed local media reports that his government is studying whether to legalize the export of the trunks of native species of Amazonian trees. At present the practice is banned, but Bolsonaro said he believed it would be better to regulate the industry, rather than to let it continue clandestinely.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bruce Douglas in Brasilia Newsroom at bdouglas24@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at jspinetto@bloomberg.net, Bruce Douglas, Steve Geimann

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