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Virus has Brazil's Bolsonaro facing governor ‘insurrection’

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 26 March 2020 ()
SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's governors on Wednesday rebelled against President Jair Bolsonaro’s call for life to return to pre-coronavirus normalcy, saying his proposal to reopen schools and businesses runs counter to recommendations from health experts and endangers Latin America’s largest population.

State governors, many of whom have adopted strict measures to limit gatherings in their regions, defied the president's instructions in a nationwide address Tuesday evening that they lift the restrictions and limit isolation only to the elderly and those with longstanding health problems.

The governors weren't the only defiant ones. Virus plans challenged by Bolsonaro were upheld by the Supreme Court. The heads of both congressional houses criticized his televised speech. Companies donated supplies to state anti-virus efforts. And even some of his staunch supporters joined his detractors.

In a videoconference Wednesday between Bolsonaro and governors from Brazil's southeast region, Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria threatened to sue the federal government if it attempted to interfere with his efforts to combat the virus, according to video of their private meeting reviewed by The Associated Press.

“We are here, the four governors of the southeast region, in respect for Brazil and Brazilians and in respect for dialogue and understanding,” said Doria, who supported Bolsonaro's 2018 presidential bid. “But you are the president and you have to set the example. You have to be the representative to command, guide and lead this country, not divide it."

Bolsonaro responded by accusing Doria of riding his coattails to the governorship, then turning his back.

“If you don't get in the way, Brazil will take off and emerge from the crisis. Stop campaigning,” the far-right...
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Credit: Al Jazeera STUDIO - Published < > Embed
News video: Brazil's Bolsonaro denounces mayors over virus lockdowns

Brazil's Bolsonaro denounces mayors over virus lockdowns 02:01

Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro have begun shutting down non-essential business to slow the spread of the virus.

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