HomeWorld NewsBrazilian party official shot dead as pre-election political violence escalates

Brazilian party official shot dead as pre-election political violence escalates

Marcelo Arruda, a supporter of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva who was killed by a suspected supporter of Brazilian President Bolsonaro during his birthday party in Foz do Iguacu, poses in this photo taken September 9, 2020, in Brazil. July 10, 2022. REUTERS/Christian Rizzi

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SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) – A local leader of Brazil’s leftist opposition Workers’ Party (PT) was shot dead on Saturday by a federal prison guard shouting his support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, a report said. of the state’s civilian police and a witness.

Marcelo Arruda, municipal guard and head of the PT, was celebrating his birthday party in the city of Foz de Iguacu, in the state of Parana, in southern Brazil, when Jorge Jose da Rocha Guaranho entered the event and shot him down.

Arruda, who was also armed, returned fire, killing Guaranho, according to a PT statement.

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The death of the two men bodes ill ahead of an October election that many expect to become very tense in a politically polarized Brazil. Leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is the PT’s presidential candidate and currently leads Bolsonaro in the polls.

Bolsonaro, who has long railed against Lula and his leftist allies, floated the idea of ​​accepting no electoral defeat, citing unfounded allegations of voter fraud and problems with Brazil’s widely respected electronic voting system.

According to a report by the state’s civilian police and a witness who spoke to Reuters, Guaranho appeared at the party, uninvited, pointing a gun while shouting insults at those in attendance and saying words of support. by Bolsonaro.

Aluizio Palmar, a journalist at the party, told Reuters a man arrived and started shouting in favor of Bolsonaro, describing him as a “legend”.

According to Palmar, the man left but returned about 15 or 20 minutes later, pointing a gun at Arruda.

Arruda ordered him to stop, identifying himself as a member of the security forces.

The two men then opened fire, killing each other, according to the PT statement, police report and security camera footage in local media.

“Another dear comrade passed away this morning, a victim of intolerance, hatred and political violence,” PT national president Gleisi Hoffmann said in a statement.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On social media, Bolsonaro repeated a message from 2018 “denying support for those who practice violence against opponents”.

“I ask these types of people, for the sake of consistency, to change sides and support the left,” Bolsonaro said in the tweet.

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Reporting by Lisandra Paraguasu and Eduardo Simões; Written by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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