Bolsonaro appeals again to the Supreme Court to curb covid-19 restrictions

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Joedson Alves / EPA

Jair Bolsonaro, President of Brazil

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro returned on Thursday to sue the Federal Supreme Court (STF) to try to suspend restrictive measures imposed by governors to stop the pandemic in the country, at a time when experts predict a third wave.

Through the Attorney General’s Office (AGU), a body that defends the Brazilian Executive in legal proceedings, Bolsonaro filed a direct action for the unconstitutionality of restrictive measures, such as lockdown and “curfew”imposed by governors.

The action calls for the suspension of decrees in the states of Pernambuco, Paraná and Rio Grande do Norte.

According to the petition, signed by the attorney general of the Union, André Mendonça, the aim is “to guarantee the coexistence of fundamental rights and guarantees of the citizen, such as the freedom to come and go, the rights to work and subsistence, together with the the rights to life and health of every citizen, through the application of the constitutional principles of legality, proportionality, democracy and the rule of law ”.

According to the AGU, “as the priority groups and the population in general are being immunized, more excessive (and disproportionate) becomes the imposition extreme measures that sacrifice the fundamental rights and freedoms of the population ”.

The decrees of Paraná and Rio Grande do Norte established a curfew at certain times. The Pernambuco decree, on the other hand, restricts the operation of certain commercial establishments.

The Government argues that “the damage that will be caused to economic subsistence and to the freedom of movement of people is notorious with the continuation of the decrees of curfew and the closure of non-essential services imposed in different places in the country”.

In a press release, the AGU indicates that the action “does not question previous decisions of the STF, which recognized the competence of subnational entities in adopting measures” to combat the pandemic.

Last year, the Federal Supreme Court guaranteed states and municipalities autonomy to take action to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

This is not the first time that Bolsonaro, one of the most skeptical heads of state in relation to the severity of the disease worldwide, has filed similar actions in court.

In March, the President sued the Supreme Court against decrees from the Federal District, Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul, which established stricter measures to combat covid-19.

However, the request was rejected by individual decision of Judge Marco Aurélio Mello.

Now, Bolsonaro is trying again to curb restrictive measures to fight the disease, at a time when Brazil has again registered a rise in new cases in recent days, with experts predicting a third wave of the pandemic in the country.

“Nobody can take the confinements anymore,” Bolsonaro said on Thursday, in his usual live stream on the social network Facebook.

Bolsonaro’s management of the pandemic is being investigated by a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (CPI) in the Brazilian Senate, which investigates alleged omissions by the Government.

Brazil, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic worldwide, has a total of 456,674 deaths and 16,342,162 infections due to the new coronavirus.

The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 3,500,321 deaths worldwide, resulting from more than 168.3 million cases of infection, according to a report made by the French agency AFP.