In the conflict over the correct handling of the new coronavirus, numerous government supporters have taken to the streets of Brazil and have called for intervention by the armed forces.
The protests on Sunday in the capital Brasilia were directed against the exit restrictions imposed by several provincial governors to contain the disease.
“Everyone in Brazil has to understand that he has to submit to the will of the Brazilian people,” right-wing populist President Jair Bolsonaro called to his supporters from the back of an off-road vehicle.
The ex-military officer has repeatedly referred to the coronavirus as a “light flu” and has spoken out against restricting public life.
Above all, Bolsonaro fears that the lockdown could harm the Brazilian economy.
Bolsonaro recently fired his health minister because of disagreements about how to properly deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
He also clashed with the governors of the important states of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and with parliamentary speaker Rodrigo Maia.
Even with the numerous military personnel represented in the cabinet, such as Vice President General Hamilton Mourao, Bolsonaro has horrified observers with his lax approach.
In the largest country in Latin America, 37,437 people have been confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus, and 2,388 patients have died in connection with the respiratory disease it can cause COVID-19.
In metropolitan areas hospitals are reaching capacity.