Assailant stabs Brazilian presidential candidate

Far-right Brazilians support Bolsonaro. (Flickr)

By Jesse Stiller
Staff Writer

A Brazilian far-right presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, was stabbed in the stomach on Sept. 6 at a campaign event in the city of Juiz de Fora, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. Bolsonaro is a frontrunner in Brazil’s presidential election this October, according to The New York Times.

A video taken during the campaign rally, which has been widely circulated on the internet, shows Bolsonaro being stabbed by an unknown assailant. The attack took place while Bolsonaro was hoisted on the shoulders of supporters and carried through the streets in celebration of the event, according to the New York Times.

Bolsonaro’s supporters immediately came to his aid. He was rushed to the hospital to undergo emergency surgery to stop internal and external bleeding. Doctors noted that Bolsonary was conscious, but in a state of shock due to the life-threatening nature of the injuries, according to The New York Times.

Brazilian authorities stated a 40-year-old was beaten by the crowd shortly after the attack and was arrested by authorities. The man was taken into custody and confessed to stabbing Bolsonaro in the stomach multiple times, according to The Washington Post.

“The perforation reached part of the liver, the lung, and the bowel strap. He lost a lot of blood, came to the hospital with pressure of 10/3, almost dead…His condition now seems stabilized. Pray, Please!” Bolsonaro’s son Flavio tweeted shortly after the attack.

During his controversial campaign, Bolsonaro has openly praised Brazil’s military-style dictatorship, and remarked that the military should have killed more dissidents to the dictatorship, according to Reuters.

Bolsonaro also picked former Army General Antonio Mourao for his running mate. Mourao has warned the government that the military would take over if the courts failed to prosecute and try corrupt politicians, according to Reuters.

The supreme court of Brazil was considering charging Bolsonaro of inciting hate for a statement he made that was considered racist. That charge was thrown out, but the court is still considering whether an additional comment he made against a congresswoman stating that he “Would not have (intercourse) with her because she did not deserve it” would be constituted as inciting rape, according to Reuters.

Bolsonaro’s poll numbers have increased as a result of the incident, leading the field in first-round polls, but showing him losing to opponents in a runoff election. His supporters include Brazilian Evangelicals, who identify with the candidate’s pro-gun and anti-LGBTQ+ views, according to ABC News.

Bolsonaro went into surgery again on Wednesday, Sept. 12 to repair adhesions in his intestinal walls that resulted from the attack. The surgery was reportedly successful and the candidate is recovering well, but it is unknown when he will be allowed back onto the campaign trail, according to Reuters.