Sao Paulo, Brazil – Liberal activist groups and a collective of human rights lawyers are mapping politically-motivated murders and other attacks in Brazil, blaming leading, far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro’s incendiary statements for the violence.
Sociologist and publisher Haroldo Ceravolo has pinpointed 120 reported attacks, including four murders, on his political violence map since the start of October.
The cases include political vandalism, such as several accounts of swastikas painted on buildings.
The mapping “shows a very bad situation, a very big repertoire of violent acts, whether symbolic or real, physical, occurring across the country and related to the discourse of hate of Bolsonaro,” he told AFP.
Bolsonaro is favored to win the October 28 presidential polls.
Human rights lawyers in Sao Paulo meanwhile launched a website on Friday where victims can report attacks and receive legal and psychological support.
“We can take these cases to international forums, especially the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights, which already expressed concern with what is happening in Brazil,” said Renan Quinalha, a law lecturer and former official at the state-level commission of inquiry into the military dictatorship.
Meanwhile, the freedom of information group Open Knowledge has entered information on around 60 attacks on people into a database called Victims of Intolerance.
The overwhelming majority points to culprits who explicitly link their support of Bolsonaro to their acts.
Both databases use media reports as their main source and don’t independently verify the cases. But they say the results indicate a worrying trend in society.
“We aren’t living the democracy party, as Brazilians like to say. We are living almost barbarism,” said Eduardo Cuducos, who runs the Victims of Intolerance database.
The latest polls suggest Bolsonaro has 59 percent voter support, against his leftist rival Fernando Haddad’s 41 percent.
The country would feel the effects beyond the vote, said rights lawyer Quinalha.
“This is something that tends to continue, a polarization that is happening in Brazil today with extreme violence and won’t end after October 28, because this culture of violence, of naturalizing violence that is prevailing will leave very deep roots,” he said.