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Political violence in Brazil election not prevalent as initially feared

The first round of voting registered fewer episodes of political violence than political experts foresaw.

According to the Justice Ministry, electoral crimes were more common than actual aggressions by 8 pm today. A total of 87 cases of vote buying or electoral corruption were registered, as well as 71 violations of vote secrecy, 379 instances of illegal campaigning, and 62 cases of illegal transportation of voters. More than 500,000 security force agents were deployed.

Some attacks against electronic voting machines were also recorded, in line with a smear campaign carried out by President Jair Bolsonaro, who claimed that they can be rigged.

A man broke a ballot box with a stick in Goiânia, in Goiás state. Another man was arrested in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul, after applying glue to the keys of the device and trying to prevent other people from voting. The ballots were soon replaced, the data was not lost, and the elections proceeded normally in those voting centers.

The more violent cases took place when police officers who were guarding electoral colleges were attacked. In São Paulo, two cops were shot by yet unidentified men. In Rio Grande do Sul state, another police officer was attacked with a knife. The reasons have not yet been clarified. The agents’ health condition was reported as stable.

In the morning, men wearing shirts with the colors of the Brazilian flag, which has become closely associated with Mr. Bolsonaro, shot at supporters of another party in a city in Bahia state. The shots hit no one, but an elderly woman was pushed and injured in the melee.

There were at least 75 cases of political violence registered during the campaign, according to a survey by the Agência Pública news website.

At least eight cases involved firearms, and two resulted in deaths. In more than a third of cases (36 percent), the aggressors were supporters of President Bolsonaro, while 9 percent of attacks were linked to backers of former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The aggressors’ political leanings were unclear in the remaining 57 percent of cases.

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