Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro asked protesters blocking roads nationwide to lift blockades.
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Protests erupted on Sunday after the election authority declared Bolsonaro’s narrow loss to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in an October 30 runoff presidential election.
In a video posted on social media, Bolsonaro said he understood people’s frustration at the result of the election.
“I know you are upset... Me too. But we have to keep our heads straight,” he said in a video message posted on Twitter. “I will make an appeal to you: clear the highways.”
The president said blocking roads make the ongoing protests illegitimate. He encouraged people to choose other ways to demonstrate.
Bolsonaro added the Federal Highway Police (PRF) had mobilized to help dispel protesters and clear roads. But he said they are overwhelmed because protests are taking place on multiple locations. “The difficulties are enormous.”
Brazilian authorities said they were making headway in their efforts to clear blockades set up across the country by truckers.
The PRF said protesters were blocking highways partially or fully in 126 locations, down from around 190.
Although smaller than in previous days, the protests are still likely disrupting fuel distribution, industrial activity, food deliveries to supermarkets, and shipments of grains to ports.
Anvisa, the national health agency, warned that the blockades could lead to shortages of medical supplies.
ANP, the oil regulator, changed rules related to minimum fuel storage requirements on distribution sites and relaxed cooking gas bottling requirements in a bid to prevent potential energy shortages.
Abear, a trade group which represents Brazilian airlines, warned that the jet fuel supplies may be compromised.
Police said 732 roadblocks had been cleared across the country, though roads remained blocked or partially blocked in 14 of Brazil’s 26 states, most notably in farm states like Santa Catarina and Mato Grosso, where Bolsonaro has strong popular support. ■