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Bolsonaro lies and denies that there was any aggression against journalists in Rome – 11/08/2021 – World

President Jair Bolsonaro lied on Monday (8) and said that there was no attack by agents who were his security in Rome against journalists during a tour of the delegation. The Brazilian leader also accused Folha and other media outlets of trying to hold him responsible for the episode.

Bolsonaro’s statements were made to Jovem Pan, in an interview recorded over the weekend in Paraná and broadcast this Monday morning. The president was asked about the decision of Minister Dias Toffoli, of the STF (Supreme Federal Court), who gave ten days for Bolsonaro to explain what had happened.

On Oct. 31, accredited and identified journalists covering Bolsonaro’s visit to the Italian capital were attacked during the entourage’s improvised walk through the city center, while supporters shouted “Globolixo” and the president’s advisers watched impassively.

The president went to Italy to participate in the G20 meeting. This Monday, Bolsonaro called the episode involving press professionals “friction”. “Then I learned of a friction that took place —no aggression, no punches, no blows, nothing—, it was with the Italian carabinieri; that they, together with the GSI [Gabinete de Segurança Institucional], who does my security anywhere in the world, they had an encounter… [com] Folks from Folha, UOL and Globo,” said the president.

Out there

“Because they started attacking me, even from the back, saying absurd things. And when one tried to approach me, he was stopped by the carabinieri, by the Italian police. Nothing more than that. I didn’t see anything happen except a shouting there. Now, wanting to take responsibility for this is a lack of responsibility on the part of these three press agencies.”

The portrait made by Bolsonaro contrasts with the report of reporters at the scene, who described what happened in different vehicles and highlighted that there were punches and shoves against press professionals.

In the late afternoon of the 31st, when the president was still at the Brazilian embassy, ​​an agent who did not want to be identified pushed Folha reporter Ana Estela de Sousa Pinto, saying that she should leave the scene. The journalist was pushed three more times, although she was in public places, where there should be no restrictions on the work of the press.

Arriving by car at the diplomatic post building, the president stopped and got out of the vehicle, as he usually does when there are supporters, but he was surprised by screams of “assassin” and “genocide”. He gave up on approaching the audience, waved, returned to his car and entered the building.

The journalists then went to the back of the embassy to await Bolsonaro’s departure. During the wait, the first attacks against the professionals, who were prevented from passing through the place, began. When questioned, the agents did not identify themselves or explain the reasons for the impediment.

Minutes later, the president left to speak with about 60 waiting supporters. After giving a speech almost inaudible even to those close by, greeting and taking selfies, he decided to take his fourth improvised walk through the city during his visit to Rome.

At that moment, the security guards tried to make a chain of protection while the Brazilian leader set off at a tight pace towards the Largo Argentina, along a narrow road, in which supporters were crowding in to accompany him. Journalist Leonardo Monteiro, TV Globo correspondent, said he was punched in the stomach by an Italian agent after asking the president a question.

“I asked him why he hadn’t been to the G20 events this morning. Then a security guard came, pushed me so hard I even lost a shoe. Then they pressed me against the side of a car and punched me in the stomach If it wasn’t for André [Miguel, repórter cinematográfico da emissora] and two colleagues, Ana Estela, from Folha, and Lucas Ferraz, from O Globo, who came filming and argued with another police officer, it would be worse,” said Monteiro. “It was disproportionate violence. We expect the ‘press pen’ to protect the president, but not to make the work of the press unfeasible.”

On Corso Vitorio Emanuelle 2º, amidst the rush and shoving, at least one demonstrator was injured when she was knocked down, and a group that tried to get close to her was also pushed.

China, land in the middle

When Folha began filming the aggression against Monteiro, an agent tried to snatch the reporter’s cell phone and threatened her. UOL reporter Jamil Chad also had his cell phone taken while trying to film, and Globo reporters Lucas Ferraz and BBC News Brasil Matheus Magenta were verbally abused and pushed. Magenta even took punches in the back.

Brazilian and Italian security guards ignored the credentials and the information that the journalists were on the job and yelled at colleagues who said brutal physical contact was unacceptable.

All the way through, Bolsonaro paid no attention to events, staring straight ahead. When Folha asked him why security was attacking the journalists, he stopped, listened to what an aide said in his ear, and decided to interrupt the tour and return to the embassy. The agents’ assaults continued on the way back—in all, the tour lasted about ten minutes.

The Folha reporter addressed a uniformed man, the only one who had a shield that indicated he was a civil servant. He said he was from the police, but when asked why Italian security guards prevented the Brazilian press from working, he said that had not happened and walked towards the back door of the embassy, ​​where he blocked the way for reporters.

Security guards also said they could not be filmed and refused to provide their identification and to say whether they were a regular part of the Italian police. Bolsonaro’s advisers never asked for calm or interceded. The trip by the head of the Brazilian Executive also registered other episodes of turmoil, with clashes between protesters and the police, in the region of Padua, where he went to receive a tribute from the city of Anguillara Vêneta.

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