RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Jair Bolsonaro, a leading presidential candidate in Brazil, was stabbed during a campaign event on Thursday, though officials and his son said the injury was not life-threatening.
Numerous videos on social media showed Bolsonaro, whose far-right platform includes cracking down on crime in Latin America’s largest nation, being stabbed with a knife to the lower part of his stomach. At the moment of the attack, Bolsonaro was on the shoulders of a supporter, looking out at the crowd and giving a thumbs up with his left hand.
After the attack, he is seen flinching and then goes out of view. Other videos show supporters carrying him to a car.
Police spokesman Flavio Santiago confirmed to The Associated Press that Bolsonaro had been stabbed and that his attacker was arrested.
Santiago said Bolsonaro was taken to a hospital in Juiz de Fora, a city about 125 miles (200 kilometers) north of Rio de Janeiro, and was in good condition.
Santiago said the attacker was identified as Adelio Bispo de Oliveira, and that he was beaten up badly by Bolsonaro supporters after the attack. More information about de Oliveira wasn’t immediately available.
Bolsonaro’s son, Flavio Bolsonaro posted on Twitter that his father is doing fine.
The wound “was superficial and he is OK,” wrote Flavio, who also asked for prayers for the family.
A statement from federal police said the candidate had bodyguards. In the videos, Bolsonaro does not appear to be wearing a protective vest.
“This episode is sad,” President Michel Temer told reporters in Brasilia. “We won’t have a rule of law if we have intolerance.”
Bolsonaro, a former Army captain, is second in the polls to ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been barred from running but continues to appeal.
Despite being a congressman since 1991, Bolsonaro is running as an outsider ready to upend the establishment.
While he has a strong following, Bolsonaro is also a deeply polarizing figure. He has been fined, and even faced charges, for derogatory statements toward women, blacks and gays.
He also speaks nostalgically about the country’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship and has promised to fill his government with current and former military leaders. His vice presidential running mate is a retired general.
Earlier this week, Bolsonaro said during a campaign event that he would like to shoot corrupt members of the Workers’ Party. The comment prompted an immediate rebuke the attorney general, who asked Bolsonaro to explain that comment.
Other candidates quickly denounced the attack.
“Politics is done through dialogue and by convincing, never with hate,” tweeted Gerado Alckmin, former governor of Sao Paulo who has focused negative ads on Bolsonaro.
Fernando Haddad, who is expected to take da Silva’s place on the Workers’ Party’s ticket, called the attack “absurd and regrettable.”
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