March 13, 2020 / 12:51 PM / a month ago

Supporters of Bolsonaro's government postpone rallies across Brazil due to coronavirus pandemic

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Supporters of Brazil’s far-right government have decided to postpone rallies originally planned for Sunday in the country’s main cities due to the coronavirus pandemic, following President Jair Bolsonaro’s appeal.

In a Facebook live on Thursday night, Bolsonaro, who was wearing a mask, urged his supporters to rethink demonstrations to avoid the risk of contagion. Rallies were aimed at pressing Congress to approve his legislative agenda.

Bolsonaro’s communications secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, was diagnosed with coronavirus on Thursday following a trip to Florida where both met with U.S. President Donald Trump. Bolsonaro tested for coronavirus on Thursday and the result is due on Friday.

“Given the request by President Jair Messias Bolsonaro, in his live minutes ago, we, Movimento NasRuas, decided to nationally postpone our participation in rallies that would take place on March 15,” the group said in a statement published on its Facebook page.

Another group, known as Movimento Avança Brasil, which had also convoked its members to join the protest on Sunday, said in its Twitter account that rallies were postponed in accordance to requests made by Bolsonaro and the Health Ministry following the worsening of a coronavirus pandemic in Brazil and abroad.

Reporting by Pedro Fonseca in Rio de Janeiro; Writing by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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