The misogynistic, racist, and homophobic rhetoric of the ultra-right Brazilian candidate Bolsonaro has turned from words into deeds after last week’s election. The 63-year-old capoeira teacher, Romoaldo Rosário da Costa, better known as Moa do Katendê, was murdered with 12 stab wounds on Monday night in a bar of Salvador, in the north-eastern state of Bahía. The perpetrator was identified as 36-year-old Paulo Sérgio Ferreira de Santana, who admitted that the attack was politically motivated.
Ferreira de Santana, like many other Bolsonaro supporters was emboldened by the first round victory for the right wing pro-dictatorship candidate. According to eyewitnesses, Ferreira de Santana was arguing with the bar’s owner and Moa do Katendê, both open PT voters. The murderer went home, grabbed a fish-cleaning knife, and returned to the bar, where he stabbed the capoeira teacher 12 times.
Moa do Katendê was one of the most important capoeira teachers in the country, a historical founder of the Afoxé Badauê Afro bloc in Salvador and a black culture activist. Musician Caetano Veloso posted a video after finding out about the murder: “He was a good friend and one of the central figures in the growth of the Afro groups of Salvador. No more fascism! We cannot allow things like this to happen!”
On Monday, the sister of Marielle Franco, left councilor and human rights activist murdered in Rio seven months ago, was in a mall with her two-year-old daughter when two men approached her (one of whom was wearing a Bolsonaro t-shirt) and began to yell at her to “get out of here, you left-wing whore! Get out, you feminist!” On Tuesday, in the Paraná Federal University, 10 youth attacked a student wearing an MST (Landless Workers’ Movement) cap by throwing bottles at him as they shouted “Bolsonaro is here!”
In the city of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul al sur de Brasil, a 19-year-old teenage girl was attacked by three men, all Bolsonaro voters, as she stepped out of a bus. The girl was wearing a shirt with the HT #EleNão (“not him”), and the attackers harassed and violently beat her for wearing that slogan. As if this was not enough for them, the group of men marked a swastika on her abdomen with a Swiss Army knife.
Emboldened by Bolsonaro’s homophobic discourse, bigots have carried out attacks against LGBT people in several parts of the country. The day after the elections, in the bathrooms of the French-Brazilian School of Rio de Janeiro, a graffiti appeared reading “Dykes are going to die.” That same Monday, a transsexual woman was hospitalised after getting beat up by Bolsonaro followers.
Professor Renato Zamora recalled how one of his female students had been attacked in the subway: “Some whacko yelling ‘Bolsonaro’ pushed her to the tracks, but luckily she was rescued.” Publicist Eloy Capucho reported to the Military Police of Manaos a death threat from an Uber driver when he learned that Capucho was gay and had voted for Haddad.
Just one day after the first electoral round, these attacks—such as the one the teenage girl of Porto Alegre suffered and the criminal murder of Maestro Moa—show that the far-right discourse of Jair Bolsonaro is designed to increase the repression and persecution of those who struggle against racism, sexism, and homophobia.
The Brazilian election this year has been manipulated at every step by the judicial power, overseen by the army, and supported by the mass media. The candidates who defend Temer’s pro-coup, right-wing program have gained popularity, making it urgent to struggle against the rise of the far right that attacks the rights of workers and minorities and aims to privatize all national resources.
The #EleNão movement, spearheaded by women, shows that there is strength to resist the advance of the far right. The independent mobilisation of workers, youth, black people, women, LGBT people, the landless and homeless workers in the streets, with strikes and occupations, is the only social movement that, led by workers, can truly stop the advance of authoritarianism and the far right.