By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Brazil’s right-wing presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, was stabbed on Thursday afternoon, while attending a campaign rally in the town of Juiz de Fora, in the state of Minas Gerais. According to his son, the candidate was struck with a knife that pierced his mid-section and has since undergone an operation.
“Unfortunately, it was more serious than we had expected,” said Flavio Bolsonaro, the candidate’s son through his Twitter account.
“The perforation reached part of the liver, the lung and the intestine loop. He lost a lot of blood, arrived at the hospital with a pressure of 10/3, almost dead … His condition now seems stabilized. Pray, please!” added the younger Bolsonaro.
According to the military police in Minas Gerais, the man who attacked the presidential candidate is 40-year-old Adelio Bispo de Oliveira. After attacking Bolsonaro, Oliveira was surrounded by many of the candidate’s supporters who started to beat him up, but were stopped by police.
According to local news portal G1, Lieutenant Colonel Marco Antônio Rodrigues de Oliveira, commander of the 2nd Battalion of Juiz de Fora’s Military Police, the suspect confessed that he tried to wound candidate Jair Bolsonaro due to diverging ideas and thoughts with the candidate.
“He said that it was a personal matter of him, and then he did not say anything else,” said Oliveira, adding that the suspect has no ties with any political parties.
Within minutes of the attack, most of the other presidential candidates took to social media to condemn the stabbing.
“The violence against candidate Jair Bolsonaro is inadmissible and constitutes a double attack: against his physical integrity and against democracy,” said presidential candidate Marina Silva in her social media.
“I totally repudiate any act of violence and wish for Jair Bolsonaro a swift recovery,” stated PT (Workers’ Party) Fernando Haddad, currently the vice-president on former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s ticket.
Former President Dilma Rousseff, one of Bolsonaro’s fiercest opponents when she was in office, also sent her condolences, but insinuated that the candidate’s position on several issues have made him unpopular.
“Brazil is a country that does not like hatred. We have to rebuild our capacity for dialogue. [But] When you ‘plant’ hate, you ‘reap’ a storm. It is like this anywhere in the world. When [the campaign] becomes radicalized, persecution is encouraged. I am very sorry that these things happened,” said Rousseff.
Former military officer, Bolsonaro currently leads the polls for October’s presidential elections, and is very likely to go to the second round of elections. The candidate, however, also has the highest rejection rate of any of the contenders, due to his stance on gender equality, LGBT rights and gun ownership backing.
This is the first time in recent history that a candidate for president has been attacked in Brazil.