Brazil On "Edge of a Precipice" After Attack on Lula Convoy

(Bloomberg) -- Brazil’s main presidential candidates condemned the attack on two campaign buses of ex-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the front-runner in opinion polls for October’s general election.

"We’ve arrived at the edge of a precipice," said Lower House Speaker Rodrigo Maia in a radio interview on Wednesday. President Michel Temer also lamented the attack, stating that this climate of "us against them" cannot continue.

Two of Lula’s campaign buses were hit by gunfire on Tuesday night while traveling in the southern state of Parana. No one was injured. The former president has been touring the country, rallying supporters as he waits for court rulings that could land him jail or ban him from running in the election for his conviction for graft and money-laundering. Some of his campaign events have been targeted by protesters, many of whom blame him for the corruption that flourished during his Workers’ Party government.

Not all of Brazil’s presidential candidates were so restrained in their responses to the incident. Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin told Folha de S. Paulo on Tuesday night that the Workers’ Party was "reaping what it sowed". He later issued a statement saying the authors of the attack needed to be punished and that the country was tired of division and calls for conflict.

Far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro, currently second in opinion polls, mocked Lula’s tour as "a caravan of shame" during a speech to supporters in Curitiba, the Parana state capital. His party was making itself the victim and blaming others for its crimes, he wrote in a Twitter post.

On the same day that Lula’s campaign bus came under fire, Supreme Court Judge Luiz Edson Fachin told Globo News that both he and his family have received threats. He declined to elaborate. Fachin is the judge responsible for handling cases relating to the massive corruption investigation known as Operation Carwash at the Supreme Court.

A Supreme Court ruling, due April 4, is likely to determine whether Lula goes to jail, possibly as soon as next week.

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