Brazil’s electoral courts have banned the social media profiles of staunchly pro-Bolsonaro lawmaker Carla Zambelli and reportedly ruled that she cannot create new accounts on the platforms until President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is certified as the new head of state, in a ceremony set to take place by December 19.
Electoral judges found that Ms. Zambelli sought to “disrupt the electoral process” through her posts encouraging putschist protests around the country. She was, on October 2, the second-most voted candidate in São Paulo, with some 946,000 votes.
Ms. Zambelli has since flown to the US According to reports, she left the country amid a wave of attacks from the far-right itself, blaming her for being a leading factor to the electoral loss of President Jair Bolsonaro.
One day before the election, Ms. Zambelli was caught on video brandishing a gun at a black Lula vote in an upscale neighborhood in São Paulo. An inquiry into the incident is underway, and a member of her security team has been arrested.
A day later, Mr. Bolsonaro lost re-election by a razor-thin margin of roughly 2 million votes. Following the results, the government’s deputy whip in the House said the “election was in the bag” but that it was impacted by “horrible facts” close to Election Day, such as the incident involving Ms. Zambelli.
Anti-democratic demonstrations have largely been coordinated via a network of groups on social media, with organizers creating different chat groups for each Brazilian state, or with separate cities having their own. Information and instructions are often relayed across these groups simultaneously.
Electoral courts have ordered the removal of several of these communications channels, but The Brazilian Report found that many of them are still active, constantly changing the group names and profile pictures.