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"I have to stay alive": The Brazilian gay lawmaker gives up its headquarters under threats



SÃO PAULO, Brazil – An openly gay federal legislator in Brazil, who has often clashed with the country's new far-right president, said on Thursday that he is giving up his seat due to death threats.

Legislator Jean Wyllys, an avid lawyer on gay rights, to be sworn in for a third term in February, said in an interview with the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo that "this environment is not safe for me" After a political party was assassinated last March and violence that followed the election of President Jair Bolsonaro in October.

"For the future of this matter," Mr. Wyllys said, "I have to stay alive. I do not want to be a martyr. He added that he was abroad and was not planning to return to Brazil.

Mr. Wyllys called Mr. Bolsonaro, a former member of the House of Commons congress, "a president who used to insult me, me always openly offended and who was always homophobic with me. "

In 2016, Mr. Wyllys replied by during his hearing to Mr. Bolsonaro spitting to accuse President Dilma Rousseff, Mr. Bolsonaro, before calling himself a fighter Reinventing political corruption and violent violence, he was best known for conducting verbal attacks on women, blacks, and gays from the Congress floor.

Shortly after Wylly's interview was published, Mr. Bolsonaro tweeted Swiss Davos for the World Economic Forum, "Great day!" and a thumbs up emoticon. Supporters swayed in, many with homophobic comments.

Mr. Wyllys had been the target of death threats for years, but he said those threats had gotten worse when Marielle Franco, a human rights lawyer who was his friend and political ally, was murdered.

Last March, Ms. Franco, a city councilor from the city of Rio de Janeiro, was shot dead with her driver on her return from an event focused on empowering young black women. After the murder, Mr. Wyllys asked for state protection and received a bullet-proof car and a police escort for official events.

"I never thought that the death threats against me were actually going to happen," Wyllys said. "But when this execution of Marielle took place, I had a sense of sincerity."


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