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A crowd of supporters of Brazil’s former President Jair Bolsonaro demonstrated in São Paulo on Sunday as the far-right leader faces charges for his alleged role in an attack on government buildings, the Associated Press reported.

An estimated 185,000 people occupied Paulista Avenue, according to independent measuring, a testament to the influence Bolsonaro has on his base, more than a year after leaving office.

Federal police are investigating the former president over his alleged role in the Jan. 8, 2023 storming of Brazil’s main government buildings in the capital.

That day, thousands of Bolsonaro supporters attacked Brasilia’s Three Powers Plaza – which houses the country’s congress, presidential palace and supreme court – to oppose the recent inauguration of left-leaning President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva, who had defeated Bolsonaro in the 2022 presidential elections.

Dozens of protesters were arrested in January 2023 and are still in jail. In a speech on Sunday calling for “pacification to erase the past,” Bolsonaro demanded amnesty for the protesters. He and his supporters denied the attack was a coup.

Israeli flags were seen in the crowd in São Paulo as a sign of opposition to incumbent Lula, who was declared persona non grata by Israel after his comments comparing the war in Gaza to the genocide of Jewish people by Nazi Germany in World War II. Many of Bolsonaro’s supporters claimed Lula’s victory in 2022 was unfair.

They also claimed Bolsonaro was being persecuted by Brazil’s supreme court, as he is involved in a number of cases of abuse of power. These have already led to him being barred from running for office until 2030.

Political science professor Carlos Melo told the newswire Sunday’s demonstration would not help him legally, and downplayed fears of Bolsonaro, a former military officer, using the army to return to power.

Nonetheless, the turnout showed that his manifesto still resonates with many Brazilians.

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