Police handcuff fan for protests against Brazilian president

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian police briefly took a fan into custody after he started chanting in protest of President Jair Bolsonaro during a soccer match.

The Sao Paulo government confirmed Monday that Rogerio Lemes Coelho was handcuffed and taken to a police station during Sunday night’s 1-1 draw between host Corinthians and archrival Palmeiras.

Lemes said he was chanting at the Arena Corinthians against Brazil’s right-wing leader, who is a Palmeiras fan, when two police officers arrived. The fan was released shortly later with no criminal charges.

“I was arrested, humiliated and handcuffed,” Lemes said. “When I noticed a policeman was giving me a sleeper hold, I fell. They handcuffed me and took me to a room. They humiliated me. I am still in pain.”

Lemes published pictures of marks left by the handcuffs on his social medial channels.

In their account to police, officers Pablo Alexandre Pires de Souza and Jaciel Ferreira da Silva said they used “the necessary means” to stop Lemes from starting a fight.

Sao Paulo state police said in a statement they do not take action motivated by political bias.

“(The police action) was made to preserve the fan’s physical integrity,” the statement reads. “He pronounced words against the president, which caused animosity with other fans and had the potential to create a stir and generalized violence.”

Bolsonaro was elected president in October with a pro-gun and anti-corruption message. The former Army captain has enjoyed support from police officers throughout his political career.

The Brazilian president was booed at several soccer matches this year, including many he attended, but no police action was taken against fans in any of those cases.