STORY: Thousands Bolsonaro supporters gathered early on Wednesday to join the far-right leader at rallies mixing Independence Day military displays with political demonstrations less than a month before a heated election.
Opponents have criticized Bolsonaro for co-opting the national holiday and military parade to serve his re-election campaign, in which opinion polls show him trailing leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ahead of an Oct. 2 vote.
Some Bolsonaro supporters at the Wednesday morning parade briefly drowned out a military chorale by chanting “Our flag will never be red!” – a jab at the colors of Lula’s Workers’ Party.
Opinion polls show Lula, who served as president from 2003 to 2010, leading the election race, but his advantage has narrowed in recent months. The latest surveys still show Lula defeating Bolsonaro by double digits in a likely run-off vote at the end of October.