Roger Waters dodges arrest with a last-minute slap at Brazil's Bolsonaro

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has toed the line during his show in Brazil, when he urged to stop right-wing candidate Jair Bolsonaro seconds before he could be arrested for violating election law.

Waters, an undisputable music icon, has been Brazil with his Us+Them tour since October 9. The singer, songwriter and bassist gave six shows in the country before arriving in the city of Curitiba on Saturday. At every one of his concerts the legendary musician, known for his progressive views, decried neo-fascists, his list including US President Donald Trump, Hungarian President Viktor Orban and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.


While touring Brazil, Waters added the frontrunner of the presidential race there, Jair Bolsonaro, to his list. This caused mixed reactions amid Waters’ own fans, whose ranks include both supporters and opponents of the right-wing candidate from the Social Liberal Party (PSL).

READ MORE: Brazil’s frontrunner Bolsonaro accused of ‘fraud & fake news campaign’ ahead of runoff

Boos and cheers aside, matters became more serious for Waters as the Sunday vote inched closer. Before the show, the Electoral Court of Paraná warned the musician and his Brazilian producer T4F that if he does not abide by the Brazilian law, which prohibits all campaigning after 10pm, he might be arrested and face imprisonment.

And it all went smoothly until two minutes to the deadline. Just as Waters’ producers were, presumably, starting to breathe a collective sigh of relief, the stage went dark and silent. Then a message in Portuguese flashed on the big screen.

They told us we cannot talk about the election after 10 o’clock. We have 30 seconds. This is our last chance to resist fascism before Sunday. Not him!

“Not him” – “Ele Não” in Portuguese – is the uniting slogan of everyone campaigning and protesting against Bolsonaro.

As the clock struck 10, the words “It’s ten o’clock. Obey the law,” appeared up the display.

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Roger Waters © Mario Anzuoni

In run-up to Waters’ performance, Bolsonaro tweeted that “any person in the national territory, even if he is not a Brazilian citizen, has inalienable rights as a human being, as well as having a duty to obey the laws of Brazil.”

Bolsonaro, who is sometimes described as Brazil’s Trump,  is widely expected to seal the vote in Sunday’s run-off. The right-wing politician cruised through the first round, wining 46 percent of the vote on October 7,  with his main opponent, Fernando Haddad from the leftist Worker’s Party, receiving only 29 percent.

The MDA poll released on Saturday predicted a comfortable win for Bolsonaro, who currently holds a double-digit advantage over Haddad. Tens of thousands have protested Bolsonaro’s all-but-secured rise to power in the streets and online.

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