Brazilians banged pots and pans from their apartment windows during a prime time address by President Jair Bolsonaro on March 24, during which the flamboyant 65-year-old leader claimed he could not get ill from COVID-19 because he was athletic.
Bolsonaro has come under attack in recent weeks for his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil, and public polling shows that his popularity is sliding.
This video was taken in Sao Paulo during Bolsonaro’s speech on Tuesday night. The banging of pots and pans, a popular form of protest in Latin America, known as Panelaço in Brazil, has been taken up by locals critical of the president. That opposition hasn’t hampered Bolsonaro’s attitude toward the crisis, which he claims will not impact Brazil – or him – as it has countries like Italy.
“In my particular case, with my history as an athlete, if I were infected with the virus, I would have no reason to worry. I would feel nothing, or it would be at most just a little flu,” Bolsonaro said.
In the speech, Bolsonaro urged local officials to end shutdowns that had been implemented in cities including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo. “We must return to normality,” the president said. “The few states and city halls should abandon their scorched-earth policies.”
At least 46 people are confirmed to have died from complications of COVID-19 in Brazil, and a further 2,201 have tested positive, though testing for the virus is still limited in the country. Credit: Euan Marshall via Storyful