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Jair Bolsonaro branded a 'killer' for hot dog trip as Covid-19 death toll soars

The Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, was branded a “killer” by his opponents after he popped out for a Saturday night hot dog on the day a further 965 of his citizens were reported to have died from Covid-19.

Bolsonaro, a rightwing populist who basks in comparisons to Donald Trump, has repeatedly flouted health ministry physical distancing guidelines – and continued to do so this weekend, even as Brazil’s coronavirus death toll rose to over 22,000.

More than 347,000 infections have been confirmed in Brazil – the second highest number in the world after the US.

According to local media reports, Bolsonaro went out on to the streets of the capital, Brasília, on Saturday for a can of coke and a hot dog.

Polls suggest Bolsonaro still enjoys the backing of a third of Brazilians – and some local supporters celebrated Bolsonaro’s outing by shouting his nickname “Mito” (legend). But in a reflection of rising public anger, footage shared on social media showed others banging pots and pans in protest.

Insults hurled at Bolsonaro as he grappled with his fast food dinner included: “assassino” (killer), garbage and fascist. One female dissenter can be heard screaming: “Get to work, you bum!”

The president’s son, Eduardo Bolsonaro, took a similarly provocative stance to his father’s on Friday, reportedly attending a party at a luxury beachfront property in São Paulo state owned by one of the wealthy founders of a laser hair removal company.

São Paulo, where 6,045 people have died, is governed by João Doria, a prominent rival to Bolsonaro who has been battling to convince its 44 million residents to stay at home.

Antônio Carlos Costa, a social activist and pastor in Rio, where 3,905 people have died, said he blamed Bolsonaro for the scale of the tragedy unfolding.

“His behaviour is surreal,” Costa said. “We are in the midst of a pandemic. People are dying in packed hospitals and you don’t see him shed a single tear. He expresses no regret.

 Some saw Bolsonaro’s frankfurter trip as an attempt to divert attention from a snowballing political scandal. The crisis intensified last month when Bolsonaro’s justice minister resigned, accusing the president of meddling in the federal police, apparently in order to shield relatives from police inquiries. An excruciating two-hour video of an expletive-ridden cabinet meeting was broadcast on Friday as part of a supreme court investigation into those allegations.

At one point in the session, Bolsonaro attacks critics of his decision to roam Brazil’s streets at a time of coronavirus, snapping: “A bad example my arse”.

Costa, a Christian activist, said: “Nobody knows where the country is heading. It is chaos – complete chaos.”

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MSN Guardian
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