Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for the first time on Wednesday asked protesters blocking roads na-tionwide to lift blockades as demonstrations are restricting people’s right to come and go and bringing losses to the economy.
Protests erupted on Sunday after Bolsonaro’s narrow loss to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an Oct. 30 runoff presidential election.
In a video posted on social media, Bolsonaro said he understood people’s frustration at the result of the election.
“I know you are upset… Me too. But we have to keep our heads straight,” he said on a tweeted mes-sage. “I will make an appeal to you: clear the high-ways.” The president said blocking roads make the on-going protests illegitimate. He encouraged people to choose other ways to demonstrate.
Bolsonaro added the Federal Highway Police (PRF) had mobilized to help dispel protesters and clear roads. But he said they are overwhelmed be-cause protests are taking place on multiple locations. “The difficulties are enormous.”
Brazilian authorities said they were making headway in their efforts to clear blockades set up across the country by truckers.
The PRF said protesters were blocking highways partially or fully in 126 locations as of Wednesday evening, down from around 190 the previous night.
Although smaller than in previous days, the pro-tests are still likely disrupting fuel distribution, in-dustrial activity, food deliveries to supermarkets and shipments of grains to ports.—Reuters