Right-wing Brazilian presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed by a man who appeared to be “mentally ill” during a rally in Minas Gerais on Thursday, police told Reuters. The Congressman’s condition is serious but stable, his son Flavio Bolsonaro tweeted.
The country’s military police identified the suspect as 40-year-old Adelio Bispo de Oliveira and released his photograph. The police took Oliveira into custody after stopping the presidential candidate’s supporters from beating him up. A video purportedly showed Oliveira saying that God had ordered him to attack the politician.
The Left-wing Socialism and Liberty Party issued a statement claiming that Oliveira was associated with the party from 2007 to 2014 and disowned the violence.
The Federal Police said it is investigating the matter. “We do not know if it was politically motivated,” said Corporal Vitor Albuquerque, a spokesperson for the local police.
Dr Luiz Henrique Borsato who operated on the presidential candidate said he would have to remain in hospital for two weeks and would take two months to recover from the injuries he sustained.
Bolsonaro’s rival candidates suspended their campaign events on Friday.
Flavio Bolsonaro said that the attack had given a boost to his father’s campaign. “I just want to send a message to the thugs who tried to ruin the life of a family man, a guy who is the hope for millions of Brazilians: You just elected him president,” said Flavio Bolsonaro.
The 63-year-old is a former Army captain whose divisive comments have drawn ire from liberals and increased his support among right-wing voters. Jair Bolsonaro is also scheduled to face trial before the Supreme Court for allegedly inciting hate and rape. He has promised to encourage police to kill suspected drug gang members and other armed criminals with abandon if elected to power and has gone on record to praise Brazil’s history of military dictatorship.