Wounded Brazil presidential hopeful moved to hospital

Geneva Stokes
September 9, 2018

Supporters outside the hospital in Juiz de Fora where Bolsonaro was being treated included Bruno Engler, 21, who is running for a Minas Gerais state congressional seat for the candidate's Social Liberal Party.

Video of the incident shows Bolsonaro giving a thumbs-up just before being stabbed.

The leading candidate in Brazil's presidential election is in serious but stable condition after being stabbed by an assailant at a campaign rally on Thursday, doctors said, pushing an already chaotic campaign into further disarray.

Video shared on social media showed a knife appearing from the crowd and striking Bolsonaro in his stomach.

Environmentalist candidate Marina Silva said the attack must be investigated and the perpetrators punished.

Police spokesman Flavio Santiago confirmed to The Associated Press that Bolsonaro had been stabbed and that his attacker was arrested.

Earlier, one of the candidate's sons, Flavio Bolsonaro, had announced on Twitter that his father's wounds were "superficial", but he later wrote: "Unfortunately, it's more serious than we thought". Currently, 80 federal police protect five presidential candidates who requested security, and 21 were assigned to Bolsonaro, according to Jungmann.

Flavio Bolsonaro, Jair's son and also a politician, said via Twitter than the stabbing had pierced his father's liver, lung and intestinal tract.

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Bolsonaro's vice presidential running mate, retired Gen. Hamilton Mourao, told reporters that the candidate will "come out of this process stronger than he went in". He has been fined, and even faced charges, for derogatory statements toward women, blacks and gays.

The former military officer is considered a far-right populist and is now leading the polls.

Everyone - including his detractors - has rallied around him to condemn the attack.

"Politics is done through dialogue and by convincing, never with hate", tweeted Gerado Alckmin, former governor of Sao Paulo who has focused negative ads on Bolsonaro.

Fernando Haddad, who is likely to replace Lula as the Workers Party presidential candidate, said the stabbing was a "shame" and a "horror".

The attack comes at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric, and sometimes violence, related to campaigns and candidates. In March, while da Silva was campaigning in southern Brazil before his imprisonment, gunshots hit buses in his caravan, although no one was hurt.

The public's anger is partially responsible for making this year's campaign the most unpredictable in years for Brazil, and the attack could lead to another seismic shift.

According to a voter survey released on Wednesday, the rightist would finish first in the October 7 election if imprisoned former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose candidacy was declared invalid by election authorities does not participate, but he would lose in a runoff.

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