Brazil’s armed forces say disputes must be resolved through democratic rule of law

The three commanders of Brazil’s armed forces released a joint statement on Friday in which they said that the solutions to Brazil’s disputes must come from the democratic rule of law, while also affirming the right to peaceful protest.

Their statement came amid concerns about the role of Brazil’s armed forces, which ran a military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985, during this year’s presidential election. Outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, himself a former army captain, had sought to involve the military in questioning Brazil’s electronic voting system.

Bolsonaro narrowly lost the Oct. 30 vote to leftist rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and although he did not concede, he did not block the handover of power. Some of his supporters, however, have refused to accept the result, and have camped outside military bases across Brazil, asking the military to intervene – a move they have so far not taken.

In the letter, signed by the heads of Brazil’s army, navy and air force, the three commanders wrote that the Brazilian constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the right to peacefully demonstrate.