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Brazil: Conservative Presidential Frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro Stabbed on Video

Jair Bolsonaro
The Associated Press

Jair Bolsonaro, a conservative candidate for president and the frontrunner in Brazil’s October elections, was stabbed Thursday afternoon during a campaign stop. The incident was caught on video.

Bolsonaro, a senator known for his anti-corruption, pro-family values campaign platform, was attending a campaign rally in Minas Gerais, southeastern Brazil, carried by a crowd of supporters when he suffered the assassination attempt, according to Brazilian newspaper O Globo. The newspaper notes that security guards escorted him out of the crowd to receive medical attention and that Bolsonaro was wearing a bulletproof vest at the time.

O Globo cites a source in the campaign who described the stab wound as “superficial” and expressed optimism about Bolsonaro’s ability to recover and continue campaigning. His son Flavio Bolsonaro, currently running for a senate seat, posted on Twitter that his father, also confirmed that the attacker failed to significantly hurt his father. “Thank God, it was merely superficial and he is doing well. I hope prayers for us will intensify!”

A suspect identified as 40-year-old Adélio Bispo de Oliveira was arrested on the scene, police confirmed. Bolsonaro is expected to leave the hospital on Friday.

Leftist candidates running against Bolsonaro have come out against the violent attack. “I repudiate violence as a political language, express solidarity with my opponent, and demand that authorities identify and punish those responsible for this barbarism,” Democratic Labor Party (PDT) candidate Ciro Gomes wrote on Twitter.

At the time of the attack, Bolsonaro had been the frontrunner in the election for months, since the disqualification of leftist Workers’ Party (PT) candidate Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva after a court sentenced him to 12 years in prison on corruption charges. A poll by the firm Ibope released Wednesday found Bolsonaro leading all candidates with 22 percent support, followed distantly by leftist environmentalist candidate Marina Silva at 12 percent. Yet recent polls found that, should Lula somehow be reinstated in the polls, he would be leading at 39 percent.

For much of his early campaigning, Bolsonaro focused on courting the Christian vote with a pro-family values, anti-leftist platform. Since the spectacular arrest and imprisonment of Lula – initially sentenced to ten years for accepting a million-dollar property as a bribe, then given an even bigger sentence due to the gravity of the corruption during his first term as president – Bolsonaro has focused on his clean political record, improving the lagging Brazilian economy, and combatting violent leftism. As a result, Bolsonaro has received heavy criticism from the international far left. Bolsonaro has also accused social media sites like Facebook of limiting his reach to the Brazilian people.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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