Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro used his invitation to the Queen’s funeral to visit a west London petrol station and balk at the price of petrol – twice that of many Brazilian states.
Bolsonaro, who is campaigning for re-election, made the comparison in a lo-fi video in the forecourt of Bayswater Shell ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday.
In a video shared on social media, he brags on camera: “I’m here in London, England, and the price of fuel is £1.61. This is around R$9.70, almost double the average for many Brazilian states. Our gasoline is, in fact, among the cheapest in the world.
Social media followers complained it wasn’t a fair comparison as Brazil’s minimum wage is several times lower than Britain’s.
Allies hope Bolsonaro’s four-day trip to the UK will sway some voters and give him a serious image after nearly four years of disagreements with other world leaders – while providing material for TV ads.
Bolsonaro trails former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in opinion polls, with other candidates trailing far behind. The leftist da Silva, who governed from 2003 to 2010, hopes to win 50% of the vote on October 2 and avoid a second round against the incumbent president.
Hundreds of protesters clashed with Bolsonaro supporters outside the Brazilian embassy in London over the weekend.
Addressing around 200 supporters gathered outside, Bolsonaro insisted the polls were wrong – and he could win in the first round.
“Our flag will always be in these colors – green and yellow. Our motto is God, Nation, Family and Freedom,” the right-wing leader said from an embassy balcony.
“We are a country that does not want the liberalization of drugs, which does not want to talk about the legalization of abortion and which does not accept the “gender ideology”.
Bolsonaro has declared three days of national mourning in Brazil following the death of the 96-year-old British monarch and the funeral will be Bolsonaro’s first official visit to the UK. He met the new monarch, King Charles III, during a trip to Japan in 2019.
At the time, Bolsonaro described Charles, a passionate environmentalist, as “a person who, like the rest of the world, is wrong about the Amazon.” Bolsonaro’s administration is frequently accused by environmentalists of failing to work to halt deforestation in the Amazon region and of ignoring environmental crimes there.
At least some Brazilians criticized his use of a funeral trip for political purposes.
“It’s an absolute shame for Brazil,” lawmaker Joice Hasselmann, a former Bolsonaro supporter, said on her social media. “He turned the Queen’s funeral into a gathering.”