Brazil’s Strike Chaos Stirs Military Coup Talk

Brazil’s Strike Chaos Stirs Military Coup TalkBrazil’s Strike Chaos Stirs Military Coup Talk

Brazil’s army is often called to help when things go wrong, so it was no surprise to see soldiers deploy during a crippling truckers’ strike. The difference this time: loud calls for the military to take over the country altogether.

Truckers launched their action ten days ago, gumming up the food and fuel supply system across Latin America’s biggest economy, AFP reported.

Their protest began over rising fuel prices. However, public backing for the shutdown indicated much wider discontent at Brazil’s floundering economy, unpopular government and rampant corruption.

In response, center-right President Michel Temer ordered the army to escort non-striking trucks safely past picket lines.

  Intervention Now!

But far from being angry at the arrival of troops, a number of strikers greeted them with banners reading: “Intervention now!”

“Intervencao ja!” as it goes in Portuguese, is shorthand for a return to the military dictatorship that ruled between 1964-1985, or at least a coup, followed by new elections.

The slogan appears periodically on the fringes of mainstream anti-government rallies. Now, though, it took center stage during national media coverage, with drivers unafraid to voice support for a takeover.

“We want military intervention, if possible, to sort out this country,” said Alexandre Bastos, 43, who was taking part in a truckers’ blockade of a refinery outside Rio de Janeiro. “Intervention would have nothing to do with dictatorship. We just want the army to intervene,” told AFP

Brazilians have got used to seeing the military step in where other institutions fail. Residents of Rio de Janeiro no longer bat an eyelid at the sight of soldiers in full battle dress. During the 2016 Rio Olympics and again, starting last year, soldiers regularly deployed everywhere from Copacabana beach to the chaotic, violent favelas where drug gangs rule.

A government decree this year went a step further, putting generals in charge of Rio’s police, firefighters and other emergency services, citing the regular leaders’ failure to control crime.

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