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HUNDREDS of thousands of women turned out on Saturday for a wave of nationwide protests across Brazil against right-wing presidential election frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro.
Marches organised by a social media campaign under the hashtag #EleNao (Not Him) took place in dozens of cities including Rio de Janeiro, where thousands of women converged on the vast Cinelandia square, to be joined by a column of others marching from the Avenida Rio Branco, a major thoroughfare.
Demonstrations also took place abroad, from Dublin and Paris to Budapest and Beirut.
Pop superstar Madonna proclaimed her solidarity with the cause in an Instagram post that included the hashtag #endfascism.
The Time’s Up movement, which supports victims of sexual abuse, tweeted: “To our sisters in Brazil. We are all in this together. We see you and hear you. We are with you.”
Ludimilla Teixeira, one of the march organisers, said: “Women of Brazil, women outside Brazil, all women, it’s time to join in. Either we join now to fight or we’re going to gather to mourn later.”
Organisers said that at least half a million had taken part.
Mr Bolsonaro further inflamed his opponents on Friday by saying he would accept no outcome in the October 7 balloting other than his own victory.
“From what I see on the streets, I do not accept any election result that is not my election,” he told a local television network, adding that he could not “speak for the armed forces commanders.”
The former army captain, who has voiced admiration for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, is campaigning on the basis of a hard-line stance on crime and free-market economic policies.
He leads opinion polls with 28 per cent, ahead of Workers Party candidate Fernando Haddad on 22 per cent.
However, he has also repelled many people with his sexist, misogynistic and homophobic comments.
His ex-wife Ana Cristina Valle, who previously accused him of fraud, tax evasion and stealing money she kept in a bank safe in Rio de Janeiro, has changed her tune since being adopted as a parliamentary candidate, insisting that she was “hot-headed” when she made the accusations.
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