SAO PAULO — Brazilian police said on Monday that a 39-year-old supporter of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was stabbed to death in a bar amid growing concerns about political violence during a tense presidential campaign.
The O Povo newspaper reported that witnesses told police a man walked into a bar in the town of Cascavel on Saturday and asked who was voting for da Silva in the October 2 election. A man said, “I will,” then was stabbed. He died in hospital the same day.
A Ceara state police official confirmed the report on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity due to a lack of permission to comment.
Police earlier released a statement saying the man was killed due to a “political discussion” and said a 59-year-old suspect named Edmilson Freire da Silva had been arrested. The suspect had previously been arrested in connection with a domestic violence case, police said.
The non-profit organization Human Rights Watch said it regretted “one more assassination with apparent political motivation” during Brazil’s election campaign. Ceara State is a stronghold of da Silva and his Workers’ Party.
“Candidates must vehemently condemn any act of violence and promote peaceful elections,” he said on Twitter.
Neither Bolsonaro nor da Silva have commented on the incident.
Brazilian media have reported that police in the state of Santa Catarina, a Bolsonaro stronghold, are investigating a second murder that may be linked to politics. On Saturday, a 34-year-old man died after being stabbed in Rio do Sul, a city of 72,000 people.
Supporters of the president have said on social media that Hildor Henker was killed in a bar fight after expressing his support for the far-right leader.
Da Silva, a leftist who ruled from 2003 to 2010, is leading in virtually every poll against right-wing incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, who has insisted the polls are bogus and that voter fraud could rob him of power. presidency.
Earlier in the campaign, a Bolsonaro supporter killed a local da Silva Workers’ Party official in the town of Foz de Iguacu and there were less serious clashes between Bolsonaro and da Silva’s supporters.
Workers’ Party lawmaker Paulo Guedes said on Twitter that his car was shot down three times by Bolsonaro supporters during a rally.
“How far does this hatred go? Guedes said on his social media.
Police in the town of Angra dos Reis, near Rio de Janeiro, said on Saturday a woman was hit in the head by a Bolsonaro supporter after expressing criticism of the president.
The two main candidates have taken to wearing bulletproof vests for public appearances. Bolsonaro nearly died from a mentally ill stab wound during the 2018 campaign.