Corinthians critical of police arrest of anti-Bolsonaro chanting fan

August 7 – Brazilian giants Corinthians have criticised the arrest of a supporter who protested against Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro during his club’s home game with Palmeiras. Brazilian police say they detained the fan for his own safety.

In an official statement Corinthians said that “historically [the club] reiterates its commitment to democracy and the defense of the constitutional right of free expression, provided that the principles of civility and nonviolence are observed.”

Rogerio Lemes Coelho was arrested by military police after speaking out against Bolsonaro at the stadium during Corinthians game with Sao Paulo rivals Palmeiras. The military police say the arrest was not for the act against Bolsonaro, but to preserve the physical integrity of the fan.

“The club recalls that different authorities, including the club president, have been the target of cheering during the various sporting events held on site and the episode is characterized as a serious attack on individual freedoms in the Democratic Rule of Law,” continued the statement.

Coelho was handcuffed and taken to a police station. Bolsonaro is a known fan of Palmeiras and Coelho aimed chants at the address of the Brazilian president.

Two police officers detained him. He was later released without criminal charges. “I was arrested, humiliated and handcuffed,” said Lemes. “When I noticed a policeman was giving me a sleeper hold, I fell. They handcuffed me and took me to a room. They humiliated me. I am still in pain.”

Sao Paulo state police said in a statement that their action was not politically motivated. Bolsonaro enjoys great support among the military and police in Brazil.  “(The police action) was made to preserve the fan’s physical integrity,” read the statement. “He pronounced words against the president, which caused animosity with other fans and had the potential to create a stir and generalised violence.”

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1566693060labto1566693060ofdlr1566693060owedi1566693060sni@t1566693060catno1566693060c1566693060