Brazil, rioters with Selacao shirt: Bolsonaro urged to wear it

In October, the former president had threatened to deploy the army in polling stations where his supporters were not allowed to vote wearing the Carioca national team shirt

“I invite everyone to go and vote wearing a green and yellow shirt, what the Armed Forces can guarantee is that voting in yellow and green will be guaranteed”. Thus Jair Bolsonaro, a few days before the first round of the presidential elections at the beginning of October, had threatened to deploy the army in the polling stations where his supporters would not be allowed to go and vote wearing the shirt of the Carioca national team, which has now become the banner and the identity symbol of the supporters of the ex far-right president who stormed the democratic institutions of Brazil.

So much so that the Brazilian Football Federation has released a statement condemning the use of the Selecao shirt “in anti-democratic and vandalistic acts”. “The Brazilian national team shirt is a symbol of the joy of our people. It is to cheer up and love the country”, reads a statement from the CBF, which defines itself as “a non-partisan and democratic entity” and encourages the wearing of the shirt ” to unite and not to divide Brazilians”.

In reality, the Brazil national team shirt has long been the standard uniform of Bolsonaro supporters in rallies and demonstrations. So much so that by now its colors have lost the connotation of national sentiment, or love for green and gold, and have become the symbol of the far-right movement led by the president.

As a result, many supporters of the national team, but not of Bolsonaro, “are ashamed to wear yellow-green colors and to be associated with Bolsonarism”, before the vote Sergio Coutinho, historian of the Universidad Nacional of Brasilia, referring to the fact that many passionate Brazilians of football have decided “to no longer wear the beloved colors so as not to appear as a supporter of the far-right president”.

“The supporters of the president appropriated the national flag following the old anti-communist tradition”, added the historian, recalling how the green and yellow colors were used in the first decades of the 20th century, against the radical left, and also during the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1986. And he recalled how one of the slogans of Bolsonaro’s supporters is “our flag will never be red”.

Despite this, the Oroverdi shirt, glory and pride of the whole nation for football successes all over the world, has always been loved and respected by all Brazilians. This began to change in 2013, with massive anti-corruption protests against Dilma Roussef, the left-wing president who succeeded Lula, culminating in her ousting. The majority of protesters wore national team shirts.

Then when Bolsonaro forcefully broke into the political scene, allied with a small liberal party without its own colors, there was a real appropriation of the national colors: “My party is Brazil”, was the slogan with which the leader imposed himself far right.