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Truckers block roads in 12 states, asking for Bolsonaro-led coup

After Brazilians bestowed Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva with a victory in Sunday’s presidential election, truck drivers on Monday staged protests along highways in 12 of the country’s 27 states. They challenge the electoral results and want President Jair Bolsonaro to lead a military coup in order to remain in power.

By 10:35, the Federal Highway Police had reported 47 blockades. The force, which is responsible for clearing the roads, was accused on Sunday of voter rural areas — especially in the Lula-leaning Northeast region.

Leaders of truckers’ unions, meanwhile, have distanced themselves from the demonstrations. Wallace Landim, who chairs one of the many truck drivers’ unions that exist in Brazil, said only a few people are carrying out the protests.

In a video published on social media, he said the protests are “small, isolated, and linked to the far-right.” Videos spreading on social media show tires being burned and people singing the national anthem.

“This is not the time to stop the country,” he said. Mr. Landim was one of the leaders behind the 2018 truck drivers’ strike, the biggest in recent years.

Roads are used for more than 60 percent of all cargo transportation in Brazil, making truck drivers a vital component of the national economy — as was made evident during the massive ten-day truckers’ strike in 2018 that plunged Brazil into momentary chaos. Mr. Bolsonaro, who won the presidential election a few months later, supported the strike.

Since taking office, the president has pandered to truckers with a multitude of stimulus programs specifically focused on the group.

In 2021, following Independence Day celebrations filled with putschist undertones, groups of truckers tried to stage blockades in multiple states, but they failed to disrupt transportation infrastructure in the country.

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