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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Liam Llewellyn

Olympic champion suspended after asking fans if he should shoot new Brazil president

An Olympic champion has been handed a suspension after shocking fans as he asked whether he should shoot Brazil's president.

Brazilian Wallace de Souza, 35, is a member of the men's volleyball team who captured the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and a silver medal at London 2012. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who overcame claims of corruption in 2021, was allowed to run for President again in 2022 elections, and defeated Jair Bolsonaro to return for his third term at the helm.

While many were delighted with the result, a large number of Brazilians were not, including de Souza, who is a staunch supporter of the former president. An Instagram follower of the athlete asked him on the social media platform if he would "shoot Lula in the face with a 12 (calibre gun)."

The Olympian then conducted a social media poll asking his fans if he should shoot the newly-elected President in the face. He later deleted the post and uploaded a video apologising for his actions.

"I would never incite violence in any context, even less so when it comes to our President," the volleyball star said. "So I am here to apologise, it was an unfortunate posting I made, I was wrong." The Brazilian Volleyball Confederation said in a statement it "repudiates any kind of violence or incitation to violent action".

The Brazilian Olympic Committee said it had filed a complaint against de Souza and deemed the post"unacceptable”. The suspension was handed out by his club, Sada Cruzeiro, which is said to be for "an indefinite period of time."

Brazil’s Minister of the Social Communication Secretariat Paulo Pimenta, said the country’s solicitor-general would be seeking action against the player. Sports Minister Ana Moser, a former volleyball player who won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, said in a tweet: “Before being an athlete, Wallace is a Brazilian citizen and must obey our laws and institutions.”

Wallace de Souza won an Olympic gold medal with Brazil at the 2016 Rio Olympics (CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)

Last month supporters of former Brazilian President Bolsonaro, who refused to accept his election defeat, took drastic action and stormed the presidential palace after the inauguration of his leftist rival. Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on roofs, smashed windows and invaded the National Congress, the Palácio do Planalto (Presidential Palace), and the Supreme Court - which were believed to be largely empty over that weekend.

Footage from the scene showed protesters draped in Brazil's flag ransacking President da Silva's personal office and hauling out personal items, including his sofa.

Some of the demonstrators called for a military intervention to either restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power or oust Lula from the presidency.

In a news conference from Sao Paulo state, Lula accused Bolsonaro of encouraging the uprising by those he termed 'fascist fanatics'. "There is no precedent for what they did and these people need to be punished," Lula said.

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