Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro joined a rally in the country’s capital on Sunday, where protesters called for an end to quarantine measures and some urged military intervention to shut down Congress and the Supreme Court.
Congress and the Supreme Court have supported social isolation measures imposed by governors.
The President didn’t wear a mask and coughed several times while speaking to the crowd of a couple of hundred supporters in Brasilia.
“(Everyone must) do whatever is necessary for the country to have the prominent place it deserves,” he said. “We will not negotiate anything.”
The rules in Brazil: National and local governments in the country have issued mixed messaging on how to behave during the pandemic. While Bolsonaro has been pushing against strict restrictions, state and local governments in some of Brazil’s hardest-hit areas have closed schools and all but essential businesses, with firefighters and police in the streets urging people to stay indoors.
Last week, Bolsonaro fired his health minister after weeks of clashes over social isolation measures. During a news conference to introduce his new minister, he reiterated that businesses need to be reopened to ensure that the economic fallout isn’t worse than the virus. Polls, however, show that a majority of Brazilians support social isolation.
On Sunday, Bolsonaro’s supporters also organized caravans in different cities.
The background: Brazil has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in Latin America. As of Sunday, the country had reported 38,654 cases and 2,462 deaths, according to health officials.