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CULTURE | 23-01-2023 12:25

'I was there': Souvenirs of pro-Bolsonarista riots on sale in Brasília

In Brazil's capital, key chains, mugs and magnets depicting the shocking actions of supporters of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro are available to buy – and they're selling fast.

In Brazil's capital, "I love Brasília" key chains and magnets of its iconic buildings sit beside mugs bearing photos of demonstrations by supporters of far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro and his left-wing successor Lula da Silva.

"It's a historic reminder of a difficult struggle," says Agnaldo Noleto, 52, a souvenir vendor who has spent 30 years selling his wares outside Brasília's Cathedral, a few metres from the centre of power.

The white mugs are printed with a photo dominated by Brazilian flags, symbols of the actions of supporters of former far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, with the caption: "Demonstration at the army headquarters in Brasília – I was there!"

Noleto began producing the mugs, which he sells for 50 reais, after Bolsonaro supporters set up shop in front of military headquarters in Brasília calling on officers to prevent Lula's return to power on January 1.

But when on January 8 thousands of radicalised Bolsonaro supporters invaded and ransacked the headquarters of public authorities, the item became unpopular. 

"I haven't sold a single one in these two weeks. People are afraid, I think."

On the other hand, items with Bolsonaro's face continue to rise, says Noleto. 

"Everything is running out fast, I have almost nothing left today," he said as he opened his stall on Sunday, two weeks after the attack in Brasília, and after selling his last glass with the far-right leader's face on it.

"Brazilians prefer Bolsonaro," says the vendor who voted for the former president, but keeps a stall stocked with items from the current president, including the "I was at the president's inauguration" mug. 

"But only Europeans buy the Lula [mugs]. I only sold two in two weeks, and they were for a French woman."

 

–– TIMES / AFP

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