The two contenders in Brazil’s bitterly-contested presidential race have urged calm after a wave of attacks on journalists, activists and members of the LGBT community by supporters of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro including beatings, a knife attack and a murder. Supporters of the former paratrooper – himself the victim of a botched assassination attempt last month – have also reportedly been targeted with violence. But an investigation by independent journalism group Agência Publica found that an overwhelming majority of the violence was committed by supporters of Bolsonaro, who polls give a 16-point lead over his leftist opponent, Fernando Haddad, ahead of the second round runoff on 28 October.
Agência Pública said bolsonaristas were behind 50 separate attacks since 30 September. In the same period, six Bolsonaro supporters were assaulted, the report found.
“There is a flowering of hate that I have never seen before,” said a reporter who was attacked by Bolsonaro supporters in the north-eastern city of Recife. “I am frightened because it could be anyone now.”