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Highway Police boss subpoenaed for alleged voter suppression

Former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s campaign on Sunday requested the Superior Electoral Court to subpoena the head of Brazil’s Federal Highway Police for several cases of alleged voter suppression.

Videos and photos published on social media show Federal Highway Police agents conducting operations in several Brazilian states, causing traffic jams in mostly rural areas. Twitter users complain that these operations mostly hinder poorer voters, who tend to lean towards Lula according to polls.

On Saturday night, hours before the polls opened, Brazil’s chief electoral justice Alexandre de Moraes banned the force from conducting any operations related to public transportation until elections are over.

Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, the leader of the opposition and a member of Lula’s campaign, told The Brazilian Report that Justice Moraes has agreed to subpoena Silvinei Vasques, the head of the Federal Highway Police.

In a similar case, Justice Moraes ordered a state-owned company in charge of the metro system in the city of Belo Horizonte (Brazil’s sixth-most populous) to offer free transportation on Election Day, after it refused to comply with a court order to of the sound. The company belongs to the federal government.

Free public transportation on Election Day has become a major topic of national debate, with left-wing parties requesting that city governments and federal courts consider making transportation more accessible to voters.

The Federal Highway Police has not replied to a request for comment.

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