(CNN Spanish) –– Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro finally spoke in public two days after losing to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the second round of the presidential elections. In his message, which lasted only a few minutes, he said that he would continue to abide by the country’s Constitution, but did not directly acknowledge victory.
“As long as I am president of the republic and a citizen, I will continue to fulfill all the mandates of our Constitution,” Bolsonaro said without congratulating Lula da Silva, who won with 50.9 percent of the vote compared to the current president’s 49.1 percent. It was Bolsonaro’s long silence that caused fears that he would not cooperate with the transfer of power.
The president-elect received the highest number of votes in Brazilian history: more than 60 million, beating his own record from 2006 by almost two million, according to the final tally of Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court.
Speaking from the Alvorada Palace, the president’s official residence, Bolsonaro also made a comment to his opponents: “I have always been labeled as an anti-democrat, but contrary to what my accusers say, I have always played according to the Constitution. I have never censored the media or social media.”
Bolsonaro’s message also largely reassured his supporters, who have been wreaking havoc on the country’s highways amid protests since Sunday to reject Lula da Silva’s victory. The current president claims that “the current popular movements are the result of indignation and a sense of injustice due to the way the election process was conducted.”
And he added: “Peaceful protests will always be welcome. But our methods cannot be those of the left, which have always harmed the population, such as invading property, destroying heritage and restricting the right to come and go.” .
Now, Bolsonaro’s statements come after his main allies acknowledged the election results, such as Vice President Hamilton Mourao, Chief of Staff Ciro Nogueira and Congress President Arthur Lira.
Indeed, Nogueira said in a statement on Tuesday that he would work with the new government to begin the transition. He also called Lulu “the president-elect.”
Bolsonaro concluded his speech by saying that “it is an honor to be the leader of millions of Brazilians who, like me, defend economic freedom, religious freedom, freedom of opinion, honesty and the green and yellow colors of our flag.”
Bolsonaro’s supporters continue to block roads
Protesters are currently blocking roads at 267 points in the country, according to Brazil’s highway police, who have faced criticism within the nation for the speed of their response.
Videos circulating on social media in Brazil appear to show highway police telling protesters they will not disrupt or stop their protests.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, the executive director of the highway police, Marco Antonio de Barros, defended his agency’s actions, saying that clearing the roads was a “complex operation.”
“Groups of up to 500 protesters, with children on their laps, elderly people participate. So the agency had to act very carefully,” he said.
The chief inspector of the road police, Wendel Matos, added that the institution does not support protests or blockades of federal highways. He also noted that possible protocol violations are being investigated. “Sometimes two or three officers speak or act contrary to our orders. We are investigating whether there were violations by those officials,” said Matoš.
His comments come after Supreme Court justices ordered the deployment of state military police on Tuesday morning to break up the blockades, which cut supply chains and caused delays at airports on Monday.
With information from Camilo Rocha, Rodrigo Pedros, Jorge Engels and Hiro Humayunde, all of CNN.