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Brazilian presidential candidates begin election campaigns

Brazil’s sitting President Jair Bolsonaro (R) and former chief executive Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Brazil’s sitting President Jair Bolsonaro and former chief executive Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva have officially begun their presidential campaigns amid fears of violence.

The candidates began their barnstorming tours on Tuesday aimed at boosting their chances of election in the country’s presidential race, which is scheduled for October, domestic media outlets reported.

This comes as Bolsonaro’s supporters are being frisked before attending the rallies that are led by the pro-gun president, who facilitated firearms’ acquisition and possession during his incumbency.

Meanwhile, Da Silva was initially scheduled to make his first speech at an engine factory, but was discouraged from doing so by the police, who cited security concerns.

Instead, the leftist is launching his seventh bid for the presidency at a Volkswagen plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo, a manufacturing city outside Sao Paulo.

Bolsonaro’s backers frequently cite da Silva’s 580 days of imprisonment after he was found guilty of corruption and money laundering.

The former president, however, still sustains his legacy of revolutionizing the Brazilian economy during his 2003-2010 presidency.

Da Silva is also leading all polls in a sign of the country’s weariness of Bolsonaro’s sheer populism, which has earned him reputation as “the tropical Trump.”

Bolsonaro has repeatedly characterized the race as a battle of good versus evil and has asked his supporters to swear they would “give their lives” for freedom.

His backers surrounded da Silva’s car to hurl verbal abuse earlier this year and, in July, one of them killed a local official of da Silva’s Workers’ Party in the border city Foz de Iguaçu.

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