By Agence France-Presse
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro railed against the country’s lockdown Sunday in a speech to thousands of anti-confinement demonstrators as the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections passed 100,000, with more than 7,000 deaths.
Bolsonaro blamed state governors for continuing the lockdown in a speech outside his presidential palace in Brasilia.
“The destruction of jobs by some governors is irresponsible and unacceptable. We will pay a high price in the future,” the head of state said in a speech broadcast live on Facebook.
Bolsonaro has repeatedly clashed with state governors, insisting that strict containment measures they are imposing are an overreaction, and damaging to the economy.
The country registered 101,147 confirmed cases of the virus by Sunday, according to figures released by the Brazilian health ministry, with 275 deaths from COVID-19 within the previous 24 hours.
Experts believe the overall number of COVID-19 cases could be 12 to 15 times higher, due to a large number of undetected cases given the lack of testing availability across the country’s 210 million population.
The demonstration in Brasilia drew a larger crowd than similar protests in recent weeks, and many people held up banners criticising Bolsonaro critics Rodrigo Maia, head of the chamber of deputies, and former justice minister Sergio Moro who resigned last week. Others in the crowd called on the army to intervene.
“The people are with us and the army is on the side of the law, order, freedom and democracy,” Bolsonaro told them.