On Wednesday (31/08), the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) made official the creation of an intelligence center that will work in partnership with the general commanders of the states’ Military Polices to organize the confrontation of political violence in the 2022 electoral process.

The Intelligence Center

The creation of this nucleus was discussed at a meeting between the president of the court, Alexandre de Moraes, and representatives of the military forces, on 24 August.

The group will maintain permanent intelligence actions with the purpose of identifying threats to the normality of the elections. To achieve that, there will be joint efforts between the Electoral Justice and public security bodies in the prevention and repression of political violence during the electoral period.

The Political Polarization and the Fear of Political Violence

The moment a Bolsonaro supporter murders a PT supporter, inside his birthday party.

This year’s campaign began already amid a lot of tension. One month later a case of murder connected to a political provocation hit the headlines: the killing of a PT supporter during his birthday party, which was themed after PT and Lula, by a supporter of Bolsonaro. The event sparked debates about political violence and associated to other violent incidents on the streets and online, solidified fears of an escalation in hostilities due to political polarization.

On Thursday (01/09) night, another incident was reported. State deputy Roque Barbiere (Avante) shot inside the PSDB state directory at Rua Estados Unidos, in Jardins, a prime area of the city of São Paulo. He shot the picture of the president of the PSDB in São Paulo, Marco Vinholi, with whom the Barbiere was going to have a meeting that night. Vinholi stated that he had no meeting with Deputy Barbiere last night.

Episodes of intolerance have been seen all over the country. Below, other highlights:

  • On 1 May, in Belo Horizonte (MG), protesters against and in favor of President Bolsonaro exchanged provocations and offenses
  • On 5 May, a group of protesters surrounded Lula’s car and harassed him as he arrived in Campinas (SP). One of Lula’s guards removed a banner against him, escalating tensions
  • On 11 May, in Juiz de For (MG), PT and Bolsonaro supporters threatened each other, and the Military Police intervened
  • On 16 June, an alleged Bolsonaro supporter used a drone to pour feces and urine on people at a PT rally in Uberlândia (MG)
  • On 21 June, pre-candidate to the Congress Caíque Mafra invaded a Lula pre-campaign event in São Paulo and called him corrupt
  • On 29 June, a group of left-wing protesters harassed Novo’s pre-candidates and hindered their attempt to promote a talk in the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), SP.
  • Federal Judge Renato Borelli, who ordered the arrest of former minister Milton Ribeiro in June, suffered a series of online threats. On 7 July, while driving to work, he had his car attacked with dirt and feces
  • On 16 July, according to witnesses, a left-wing rally in Praça Saens Peña, Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro (RJ) was interrupted by a group led by the right-wing State Deputy Rodrigo Amorim. The group would have made threats and torn flags apart
  • On 26 August, a man campaigning for a candidate for the government of Rio, Marcelo Freixo, was reportedly beaten by seven armed men in Campos dos Goytacazes.

More Weapons

In addition to several cases of political violence already reported, another fact brings concern to authorities, the number of registered weapons in the hands of hunters, shooters and collectors, the so-called CACs. Recently, it has reached the total of 1 million in Brazil. The number of weapons in the hands of CACs has nearly tripled since beginning of the current Government, which was responsible for approving measures that made it easier for civilians to legally acquire firearms.

In absolute numbers, São Paulo state registered the highest growth in registered firearms. According to data from the Army, there are 279,500 weapons in the hands of CACs in the state. (See More in Law Enforcement)

Amazon Region Has 700% Increase

The largest percentage increases, between 2017 and 2022, occurred in the 12th Military Region (Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia and Roraima) with an increase of more than 700%. In 2017, there were 1,881 registered firearms in the region. In July this year, the total was of 21,196 registered weapons.

Another region that had a substantial growth in the number of weapons in the hands of the CACs was the 9th Military Region (Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul). In 2017, there were 6,900 weapons. In July 2022, this number reached the total of 45,600, a 408% increase.

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