Brazilian society is currently divided in two opposite poles. On one side, resides the supporters of populist and far-right president Jair Bolsonaro. Mostly, but not only, members of the white high and middle classes. On the other side, the rest of the Brazilian people – in its vast majority, fighting to keep the country’s democracy intact.

Gone are the days when the image that the country transmitted to the world was of a prosperous, happy and united people painted by the colours of its flag.

In his four years as president, Bolsonaro torpedoed institutions, disseminated fake news and attacked the country’s democratic institutions using the same booklet of other far-right movements around the world.

And he did that freely, almost without any opposition, as the Brazilian population was immersed in the chaos of the coronavirus pandemic – a crisis with no precedent in the recent history.

In Brazil, second in the list of countries with more deaths caused by the covid-19, this situation also prevented the progressives for months to go on the streets to protest against the disastrous government of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Nevertheless, when Brazilians were able to take the streets again, in the second half of 2021 and during the 2022 election campaign, people have been gathering in most of the major cities to protest against the government of President Bolsonaro. 

Demonstrators demanded the president’s impeachment, condemning the anti-vaccine police, inflation, rumours of corruption and deaths related to the new coronavirus strain (Covid-19).

But, at the same time, supporters of Bolsonaro also organised rallies, marches  and campaign events in support of the incumbent. In some cases, the political differences between the two camps led to different forms of political violence – including cases of homicides.

After a long and exhausting campaign, Brazil has now a new president. Luis Inácio Lula da Silva scored the highest number of votes of all time in the country’s democracy.

Lula’s coalition beat Bolsonaro by a margin smaller than 2% of the valid votes (or a little bit more than 2 million votes – the smaller in the short history of Brazilian democratic elections).

In the end, the most crucial election in Brazil for decades was decided by a majority of black, indigenous, women, poor and low-middle classe population – according to the polls. But the current protests that block roads allover the country, demanding militar intervention and the cancellation of the elections just prove that this enormous abysm will take time and great effort to be closed.

According to some academics, the consequences of ‘brainwashing process’ fuelled by engagement around disinformation and conspiracy theories using mobile communication tools are still unknown.

These pictures were taken during some of the main protests, rallies and assemblies promoted by both groups, pro-democracy camp and Bolsonaro’s supporters between 2021 and 2022.