Despite the fact that 500,000 Brazilians died due to COVID-19, Brazil's president led a protest against lockdowns. Thousands of bikers marched through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, led by a maskless Jair Bolsonaro, to protest restrictions implemented by governors and mayors to combat the coronavirus.
Only the United States and India have a higher prevalence of coronavirus infections than Brazil. People are dying in hospitals as they wait for treatment due to the rise of super-mutant strains that are "threatening" the global battle against the virus.
Approximately 450,000 people have died of the outbreak, which has tested positive in 16 million people. However, the president has opposed mask-wearing and lockdowns, which public health experts believe are the most effective ways to combat transmission.
On Sunday morning, video footage shows him leading the way thousands of supporters line the footpaths near the city's Barra Olympic Park. The hour-and-a-half-long event was broadcast live on the president's official Facebook page, as per the NY Post.
Bolsonaro previously admits he, sister had COVID-19
Brazil's death toll has been dubbed "genocide" due to the high death toll and lack of compassion or leadership. Gravediggers have been photographed deep inside the graves of Sao Paulo's Vila New Cachoeirinha cemetery in horrific images. They've been busy ripping open the tombs of people who were buried years ago and bagging decomposed bodies for removal to another place, wearing protective white hazmat suits.
The parade comes as Bolsonaro tries to rally his supporters when his popularity has plummeted since taking office in January 2019, and opinion polls show him trailing ex-president Lula in the race for the presidency next year. With 449,068 people dying from COVID-19, a Senate committee is looking into his pandemic management.
According to Daily Mail, the rally lasted an hour and a half and took place along Ipanema and Copacabana, two of Rio's most popular beaches. Supporters lined the street, waving Brazilian flags and cheering on the president.
Bolsonaro, who once likened the virus to a "little flu" and was hospitalized in July 2020, topped it off by telling his appreciative audience that he would never order the military to keep people confined to their homes. According to online news outlet G1, the president's public presence came after he reported that his youngest sister, Vânia Bolsonaro, was hospitalized with the coronavirus last Tuesday.
Last Thursday, President Bolsonaro said he had coronavirus symptoms and felt better after taking chloroquine without informing his doctor. It's unclear if he had any interaction with his sibling.
Bolsonaro was fined by a state government in the northeastern United States on Friday for "promoting in Maranho gatherings with no sanitary safeguards." At an event in a town in Maranháo state, where gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited, Bolsonaro handed out rural property titles in front of crowds of maskless people.
Bolsonaro's office has two weeks to file an appeal, after which the fine amount will be determined. During a speech on May 11, he said that China developed the coronavirus "to cause chemical warfare."