On September 7th every year, the people of Brazil get a day off. Well, most of them. The buses and metro in Sao Paulo keep running and most of the restaurants and shops seem to be open but I get a holiday so that’s the main thing.
This year we thought we would actually celebrate Independence Day and went down to Parque Independência where the University of São Paulo and SESC, a network of arts and leisure centres, had organised a day of events which culminated in a performance from the excellent USP Orchestra and Choir.
The Museum itself is currently closed due to the fact that it requires structural work to make it safe. It is due to re-open in 2022 if no-one burns it down before then. The Museum in Rio was recently burned down as was the Museum of the Portuguese language in Sao Paulo.
With the presidential election coming up in October there were plenty of people around handing out flyers and waving banners for their preferred candidates.
The day before, one of the most controversial of the presidential candidates, Jair Bolsonaro, was stabbed. He is known for his far right views, including sympathy for military dictatorship (he was an army captain), and was filmed being abusive to female journalists. Ironically, the stabbing by a supporter of the left-wing, might actually have boosted Bolsonaro’s chances, at least in the first round. With two other presidential candidates having recently faced new accusations of corruption and the Brazilian Workers Party (PT) trying to run a campaign for ex-President Lula despite the fact he has been ruled ineligible on the grounds that he is serving a prison sentence for corruption, many Brazilians feel they are not exactly spoilt for choice.
Perhaps the left-wing supporter who stabbed Bolsonaro took Dom Pedro’s shout on 7th September 1822 of “Independence or Death!” a little too literally but let’s hope the rest of the campaign of fought more peacefully.