Brazil’s party official shot and killed as political violence escalates before the election

Marcelo Arruda, supporter of Brazil’s former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, killed by an alleged supporter of Brazil’s president Bolsonaro at his birthday party in Foz do Iguacu, poses in this photo taken September 9, 2020, Brazil. July 10, 2022. REUTERS / Christian Rizzi

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SAO PAULO, July 10 (Reuters) – A local Brazilian left-wing Labor (PT) official was shot dead and killed on Saturday by a federal prison guard shouting in support of Conservative President Jair Bolsonaro, according to a state civilian police report and a witness.

Marcelo Arruda, a municipal guard and NPT official, celebrated his birthday party in the southern Brazilian city of Foz de Iguacu, in the state of Parana, when Jorge Jose da Rocha Guaranho attended the event and shot and killed him.

Arruda, who was also armed, fired back and killed Guaranho, according to a statement from NPT.

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The deaths of the two men herald bad ahead of an election in October that many expect will be heavily burdened in the politically polarized Brazil. Left-wing former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is NPT’s presidential candidate and currently leads Bolsonaro in the polls.

Bolsonaro, who has long raged against Lula and his left-leaning allies, has pushed the idea of ​​not accepting an election loss, citing unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud and problems with Brazil’s widely respected electronic voting system.

According to a state civilian police report and a witness who spoke to Reuters, Guaranho appeared at the party, unsolicited, and pointed a gun while also shouting insults at those present and words in support of Bolsonaro.

Aluizio Palmar, a journalist at the party, told Reuters that a man arrived and started screaming in support of Bolsonaro, describing him as a “legend”.

According to Palmar, the man left, but returned about 15 or 20 minutes later, and aimed a gun at Arruda.

Arruda ordered him to stop, and identified himself as a member of the security forces.

Both men then opened fire and killed each other, according to the NPT statement, the police report and security camera images in local media.

Another dear comrade passed away this morning, a victim of intolerance, hatred and political violence, said NPT’s national president, Gleisi Hoffmann, in a statement.

Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On social media, Bolsonaro repeated a post from 2018 “which denies support from those who use violence against opponents”.

“I ask these types of people, for consistency, to switch sides and support the left,” Bolsonaro said in the tweet.

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Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Eduardo Simões; Author by Ana Mano; Edited by Chizu Nomiyama and Christopher Cushing

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.