Presidential Candidate Jair Bolsonaro Is Stabbed During Campaign Event in Minas Gerais

Political rivals disavow the attack; assailant has been identified and arrested

São Paulo

Presidential frontrunner Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) was stabbed on the abdomen on Thursday (6th) afternoon during a campaign event in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais. The far-right politician was rushed to a local hospital, underwent emergency surgery and is on intensive care.

According to a hospital statement, Bolsonaro, 63, suffered five wounds: one in the mesenteric artery, another in the large intestine and three in the small intestine. The resulting internal bleeding was controlled during surgery.

He underwent a colostomy, a procedure that makes a direct connection between the bowels and the skin, in order for the patient's feces to go directly to a bag attached to the body. The goal is to avoid infections in the digestive tract.

Bolsonaro's condition in the intensive care unit is stable, but he is still at risk and can't be transferred at the moment. Recovery time should be three to four weeks.

Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro grimaces right after being stabbed in the stomach during a campaign rally
Presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro grimaces right after being stabbed in the stomach during a campaign rally - AP

The attacker has been identified and arrested at the scene. Adélio Bispo de Oliveira, 40, used to be a member of left-wing party PSOL and told the police he stabbed Bolsonaro for personal reasons and in the name of God.

The assassination attempt, the first against a presidential runner since the democratic rule was reinstated in Brazil, warranted an immediate reaction from authorities and other presidential hopefuls - even among Bolsonaro's fiercest rivals.

President Michel Temer said that it was "an unfortunate act for democracy." Supreme Court president, Justice Cármen Lúcia, expressed concern for the freedom rights of both candidates and voters.

Bolsonaro's allies promised to respond. "This means war," said PSL president Gustavo Bebianno. VP candidate, General Antônio Hamilton Mourão, said Bolsonaro would overcome the incident and exceed all expectations.

Brazil's Federal Police, which had previously alerted Bolsonaro of the risks of his excessive exposure during campaign events, will reinforce the security to all presidential candidates. During a meeting, the country's military high command said there is a high risk of a political violence resurgence.

The Brazilian Stock Exchange finished Thursday with a 1.76% high and the dollar fell slightly (-0.94%) against the real after the attack.

Translated by NATASHA MADOV

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