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Truck drivers on Brazilian highways call for a general strike and try to provoke deployment of armed forces

Since yesterday, Monday (31), protests by truck drivers have occurred throughout Brazil.

The movement began shortly after announcing the results of the presidential election on Sunday evening (30) when demonstrations by carriers were recorded in over 20 states.

The actions are organized by freight drivers who support President Jair Bolsonaro (PL, right) and disagree with the defeat implied in the election results.

On Monday night (31), the Federal Highway Police (PRF) counted 236 incidents in 20 states of Brazil.

Santa Catarina leads the records with more than 40 stretches of road where traffic is restricted due to demonstrations.

Other states with high concentrations of carriers include Mato Grosso do Sul and Rondônia.

Minas Gerais, which has the largest highway network in Brazil, counts more than 10 partial or total bans.

(The police are starting to join with the Bolsonarista truck drivers who are protesting the results of the Brazilian election)

The largest concentrations are found on the BR-381 in Betim, where truckers arrived to block traffic entirely, and in Ipatinga, where the movement began on Sunday evening.

At the end of Monday night, Minister Alexandre de Moraes, the President of the Superior Electoral Court (TSE), ruled that the PRF and the state military police must immediately vacate all illegally occupied highways.

Moraes imposed a fine of R$100,000 (US$19,000) per hour and removed the PRF’s general director, Silvinei Vasques, from office; he also authorized his arrest for insubordination.

Hours later, in the early morning hours of Tuesday (01), the Supreme Court of Justice (STF) formed a majority to uphold the decision of the TSE.

After the decision, the PRF reported that the operation to demobilize the protests had begun, including videos showing demonstrations on social networks by representatives of the company.

According to some reports, 174 demonstrations were broken Monday night and Tuesday morning.

However, the Federal Highway Patrol said in a release on Twitter that the number of closures, blockades, or demonstrations on interstate highways in the country had only just dropped from 335 at 1:03 a.m. Tuesday to 289 at 4:30.

A report by CBN SP radio reveals that blockades are also continuing in Minas Gerais and São Paulo.

The access to Guarulhos airport, for example, is partially blocked.

Police officials told CBN they did not intend to use force against a group of about 30 people blocking access to the airport.

In the state, there are also blockades on highways such as Regis Bittencourt, which connects São Paulo to the South of Brazil, in the region of Embu das Artes, in both directions.

The Raposo Tavares highway has a blockade in the region of Sorocaba.

In an interview with the same CBN SP, Espírito Santo governor-elect Renato Casagrande (PSB) said that the blockades around the country, including in his state, are “a test of democracy”.


Although the movement is growing stronger, it is not uniform in this category. The director of the CNTTL, Carlos Alberto Litti Dahmer, classified the acts as “undemocratic actions”.

“What we are seeing in the country now is an anti-democratic action by parts that do not represent the category of independent truckers.”

The President of the parliamentary front of independent and full-time truckers, Federal Deputy Nereu Crispim (PSD-RS), said through his Twitter account that the roadblocks do not represent the category.

“The roadblocks are carried out by ‘criminals’ who do not belong to the category. We have sent an official letter to the PRF to ensure the right of truckers to travel to and from the city and to unblock the highways,” he wrote.

One of the leaders of the 2018 strike, truck driver Wallace Landim, known as Chorão, also called on his colleagues to suspend the blockades that began after President Jair Bolsonaro’s election defeat was confirmed this Sunday.

“At this point, stopping it would damage democracy in this country. We need the recognition of democracy, of the victory of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva,” he says in a video posted on social networks.

On the other hand, a representative of the National Movement of Self-Employed Truck Drivers, who requested anonymity, said that the demonstration was not only for the category but for all Brazilians who are “disgusted with what is happening at the national level right now.”

He cited criticism of the Supreme Court of Justice (STF) and claimed that the electoral process in the country has not been “smooth.”

“We want the intervention of the armed forces. There is a movement, a situation in which we must show Bolsonaro that a large part of the population is behind him,” he added.

Similarly, Jackson Caetano, an independent truck driver, participates in the protests in Ipatinga.

“We are waiting for an explanation to know what we will do and take action. It is an act of support for the President,” he said.

According to him, the category expects Bolsonaro announces some measures regarding the conduct of the electoral process. “There was a lack of transparency,” Caetano said.


All actions are voiced on social networks.

In a group of supporters of the President on Telegram, members reject the result of the second round of elections, support the protests of truck drivers throughout the country and demand the military’s intervention in the outcome of the elections.

The election results were certified by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) on Sunday (30), sealing the victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT).

The defeated Bolsonaro has not spoken publicly since the election results were announced.

The Bolsonaristas have formed a mobilization group by state, calling for a “general strike.”

Some users ask participants to donate food and other necessities to help truckers.

“Find out where mobilization is happening in your city and bring supplies,” one message reads.

At the same time, they talk about going to the barracks doors to ask the army to intervene against the outcome of the elections.

“Then let’s move to civil resistance!!! Now is the time !!!!”, says another message.


On the streets, truck drivers are waiting for a statement from Jair Bolsonaro (PL) to determine the direction of the protest.

“Once the President makes a statement about the defeat, I think this will pass. Everything depends on the position of the President of the Republic,” said José Natan, President of the Interstate Union of Truck Drivers in Minas Gerais.

Contrary to expectations, President Jair Bolsonaro has not yet commented after the election results were announced.

Key allies, such as his son, Senator Flávio Bolsonaro (PL), have already indicated that the defeat will be accepted.

“Thank you to all who helped us save patriotism, who prayed, who took to the streets, who gave their sweat for the country that is doing well, and who gave Bolsonaro the biggest voice of his life! Let’s lift our heads and not give up on our Brazil! God is at the helm,” he wrote on Twitter.


Unlike in 2018, this year, the truckers’ protest does not have the backing of the business community, which makes it difficult to continue the movement that does not accept the result of the ballot box for several days.

At least that’s what the lawyer and economist Alessandro Azzoni thinks in a report published by O TEMPO on Monday (31).

For him, the difference is that the current protests are political and not economic.

“I believe that this movement will not grow when and if President Bolsonaro finally speaks out”.

“I see it is about motivating President Bolsonaro not to accept defeat.”

“The famous attempt to get to a third round. It’s more of a warning and not an effective paralysis as we had in 2018,” Alessandro says.

Professor of logistics at Fundação Dom Cabral (FDC), Paulo Resende, says it is impossible to measure the extent of the problems caused by supply chain paralysis.

“We can’t determine any damage because the closure is limited to certain road sections, for which we don’t have data on traffic volumes. Moreover, we don’t have any idea yet, because some damages can only be measured in days or weeks,” says the expert.



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