Four bullets were fired yesterday at two buses that form part of former Brazilian president Luliz Inácio Lula da Silva’s tour of southern Brazil, with members of Lula’s team accusing “fascists” of being responsible.
Following earlier attacks on Sunday involving eggs and stones, Télam has reported that yesterday a bus transporting journalists was struck by two bullets – one on each side of the chassis – while another struck a window.
Another bus carrying guests was hit by a bullet on its side; the tires were shredded by metal objects that were thrown on the road. Lula was traveling in the bus that was not hit by gunfire. No injuries were reported as a result of the attacks, which took place between Quedas do Iguaçu and Laranjeiras do Sul, in the state of Paraná.
Se pensam que com pedras e tiros vão abalar minha disposição de lutar estão errados. No dia em que minha garganta não puder mais gritar, eu gritarei pela garganta de vocês #LulaPeloParaná #LulaPeloSul
— Lula pelo Brasil (@LulapeloBrasil) March 27, 2018
Last night, Lula promised to continue to fight for election as president, insisting that the attack would not deter him. Pointedly, he noted on social media that the state of Paraná had been the only one that did not provide a police escort for the caravan. The military police of Paraná have opened an investigation and ordered forensic tests of the buses. Early indications are that at least two shooters were involved.
Protesters have met the caravan along its tour.
Brazilian Security Minister Raul Jungmann said today that it was “absolutely unacceptable that an attack like this takes places, whoever carries it out. This is not democratic life, this cannot happen, and those responsible must be identified because this cannot happen again.”
Immediately after the attack, São Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin seemed to justify the attacks saying that Lula’s Workers’ Party (PT) “is reaping what it sowed,” and that it was now a victim of a polarization that it generated.
Alckmin later tried to backtrack, saying that the violence was unacceptable. Alckmin is chair of the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) that supports Brazilian President Michel Temer and he is also a presidential candidate for elections later this year. Lula defeated Alckmin in the 2006 presidential elections.
Lula, who remains the presidential candidate with the highest voter intention, faces a decision by the Brazilian Supreme Court on April 4 on a habeas corpus appeal which will determine whether he can be taken into custody or not while he appeals against a criminal conviction. The former president, who faces a 12 year and 1 month sentence on corruption charges, also risks being being barred from holding office.