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Jair Bolsonaro at the rally

Photo: Nelson Almeida / AFP

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro rejected allegations of an attempted coup after the 2022 election in a speech to tens of thousands of supporters.

»What is a coup?

Tanks in the streets, weapons, a conspiracy," said the ultra-right politician on Sunday at a rally in the economic metropolis of São Paulo.

"None of this happened in Brazil."

Bolsonaro once again accused the government of his successor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of politically “persecuting” him.

No one should be banned from the political stage without a “just cause,” he said.

The right-wing politician was banned from all political office for eight years by the country's highest electoral court in June last year due to unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud.

The Supreme Court is also currently investigating Bolsonaro on suspicion of inciting unrest following his election defeat in October 2022.

During a half-hour questioning on Thursday at the federal police headquarters in the capital Brasília, he refused to answer questions.

On January 8, 2023, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed the government district in Brasília.

They attacked and vandalized the parliament, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace.

Bolsonaro did not explicitly acknowledge the election victory of his left-wing successor Lula and repeatedly spoke of electoral fraud before and after the election.

Former president speaks of amnesty for imprisoned supporters

With the major rally in São Paulo, the 68-year-old sent a political signal.

Many of his supporters, dressed in the Brazilian national colors of green and yellow, flocked to Avenida Paulista, one of the most important streets in Latin America's largest metropolis.

In his speech, Bolsonaro called for an amnesty for those arrested after the attack on state institutions on January 8, 2023 - and described them as "poor pigs".

In recent days, the president from 2019 to 2022 has called on his supporters in several videos on online networks to hold a “peaceful meeting to defend the democratic constitutional state.”

Despite the serious allegations, Bolsonaro is still considered the opposition leader and is admired by his supporters.

Sunday's protest was seen as a test of his support ahead of local elections in October, in which his influence is expected to play a role.