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Pre-election political violence in Brazil results in the death of a party official

Pre-election political violence in Brazil results in the death of a party official

According to a state civil police investigation and a witness, a federal jail guard shot and killed a local leader from Brazil’s leftist opposition Workers’ Party (PT) while yelling his support for right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. Municipal guard and PT official Marcelo Arruda were killed by Jorge Jose da Rocha Guaranho as he was attending his birthday party in Foz de Iguacu, in the state of Parana, in southern Brazil. A PT statement claims that Arruda, who was also armed, shot back and killed Guaranho. 

Marcello Arruda

The deaths of the two men portend poorly for an election in October that many anticipate will be extremely contentious in Brazil due to political polarization. The PT’s presidential nominee, the leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is now ahead of Bolsonaro in the polls. 

Invoking baseless allegations of election fraud and issues with Brazil’s internationally regarded electronic voting system, Bolsonaro, who has long railed against Lula and his leftist supporters, has floated the notion of not accepting any electoral loss. A state civil police report and a witness both claimed that Guaranho showed up to the party without being invited, brandished a gun, shouted insults at those in attendance, and expressed support for Bolsonaro. 

Aluizio Palmar, a journalist present at the celebration, reported that a man entered and began yelling in Bolsonaro’s support and calling him a “legend.” 

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Palmar said that after leaving, the man came back with a revolver in his hand and pointed it toward Arruda. He was told to stop by Arruda, who introduced himself as a security officer. According to the PT statement, the police investigation, and security camera footage published in local media, both men then opened fire, killing one another.

“Another dear comrade passed away this morning, a victim of intolerance, hatred, and political violence,” said the PT’s national president Gleisi Hoffmann in a statement. An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by Bolsonaro’s office.

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