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Former Brazil PM denies coup plot as thousands rally in his support

Sao Paulo: Jair Bolsonaro, the former President of Brazil, led a massive rally in Sao Paulo on Sunday, vehemently denying accusations of involvement in a coup plot to cling to power, CNN reported.
Thousands of Bolsonaro's supporters, adorned in the green and gold of Brazil's national flag, gathered on Paulista Avenue, a key thoroughfare in the nation's largest city, to express solidarity amid growing legal challenges.
Last week, the far-right populist used social media platform X to call for the protest rally, framing it as a "defence of the democratic rule of law." Bolsonaro is currently under investigation by the Brazilian Federal Police regarding an alleged coup attempt aimed at retaining power after losing the 2022 presidential election, as confirmed by his lawyer in early February. Former ministers from Bolsonaro's government are also under scrutiny, and some aides have been arrested, according to CNN.
Despite the mounting legal pressure, Bolsonaro, speaking on Sunday, maintained that he is a target of persecution, refraining from directly mentioning the investigating institutions. In 2022, Brazil's highest electoral court barred Bolsonaro from seeking political office until 2030, citing abuses of power and misuse of public media during the election campaign.
Following Bolsonaro's narrow defeat to leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, his supporters rioted and breached government buildings in Brasilia on January 8, 2023. Bolsonaro, however, denies any role in inciting the violent attacks in the capital. During Sunday's rally, he called for parliamentary amnesty for those imprisoned in Brasilia in connection with the January 8 disturbances.
Bolsonaro was seen waving an Israeli flag during the rally, a move intended as opposition to Lula da Silva.
The former president had previously drawn controversy by comparing Israel's offensive on Gaza to the Holocaust. The political atmosphere in Brazil remains charged, with Bolsonaro using public appearances to rally his base amid the ongoing investigations and legal challenges, CNN reported.

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