Brazil’s Bolsonaro accused of turning visit to Queen’s funeral into political rally

·2-min read
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signs a book of condolence at Lancaster House on September 18, 2022 in London (Getty Images)
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signs a book of condolence at Lancaster House on September 18, 2022 in London (Getty Images)

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro held an impromptu election rally by delivering an open-air campaign speech in London, where he had come to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Brazilians go the polls on October 2, with Bolsonaro widely tipped to be replaced by political rival and former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

But the controversial Bolsonaro used the trip to London to try and sway undecided voters of his international gravitas by taking his political message on the road.

Speaking to about 200 supporters gathered outside the Brazilian Embassy in Mayfair, Bolsonaro insisted the polls were wrong — and that he could win outright in the first round.

“Our flag will always be in these colours — green and yellow. Our motto is God, nation, family and freedom,” the right-wing leader said from an embassy balcony.

He later visited Westminster Hall, where the queen is lying in state, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Bolsonaro and evangelical pastor Silas Malafaia.

Bolsonaro declared three days of national mourning in Brazil after the death of Britain’s 96-year-old monarch and the funeral will be Bolsonaro’s first official visit to the United Kingdom. He met the new monarch, King Charles III, during a trip to Japan in 2019.

At the time, Bolsonaro described Charles, a keen environmentalist, as “a person who, like the rest of the world, is wrong about the Amazon”.

Bolsonaro’s administration is frequently accused by environmentalists of not working to put a halt to deforestation in the Amazon region and ignoring environmental crimes there.

Some Brazilians criticized his use of a funeral trip for politicking.

“It is an absolute disgrace for Brazil,” said lawmaker Joice Hasselmann, a former Bolsonaro backer, on her social media channels. “He transformed the queen’s funeral into a rally.”