In Brazil, the leader of presidential race at a rally stabbed

In Brazil, the leader of presidential race at a rally stabbed

In Brazil, the leader of presidential race at a rally stabbed

Brazilian far-right congressman Jair Bolsonaro was stabbed in the abdomen during a campaign event Thursday.

The polls suggest he will get the most votes in the first round of the October presidential elections if former President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva remains blocked from standing, but he is unlikely to win a run-off.

Jair Bolsonaro is the front-runner and he is in a hospital bed, while the only person thought to be able to beat him is Lula - and he is in a prison cell.

Jair Bolsonaro, a leading presidential candidate whose heated rhetoric has electrified some voters and angered others in a deeply polarized Brazil, was stabbed at a campaign event Thursday and suffered serious abdominal injuries.

Images shared on social media and Brazilian television showed Bolsonaro being carried on the shoulders of a throng of supporters, before a man lunges at his stomach.

Environmentalist candidate Marina Silva said the attack must be investigated and the perpetrators punished.

Police spokesman Flavio Santiago confirmed to The Associated Press that his attacker had been arrested.

"He lost a lot of blood and arrived in hospital with 100/30 pressure, he was nearly dead", Flavio Bolsonaro said in a tweet.

The wound "was superficial and he is OK", wrote Flavio, who also asked for prayers for the family.

Dr. Luiz Henrique Borsato, who operated on the candidate, said the internal wounds were "grave" and "put the patient's life at risk". He was not wearing any kind of protective gear at the time.

Bolsonaro's son Flavio said his father was stable after suffering wounds to the liver, lung and intestine.

Bolsonaro, like Lula da Silva, is revered by some but despised by others, reflecting the stark political polarization now gripping the South American nation.

Yet he has also courted deep controversy with comments attacking women and sexual minorities, as well as for praising the country's 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Everyone - including his detractors - has rallied around him to condemn the attack.

"Politics is done by dialogue and convincing, never with hate", tweeted Gerado Alckmin, former governor of Sao Paulo who has focused negative ads on Bolsonaro. Fernando Haddad, the likely substitute for Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has 6 percent.

Bolsonaro, a former military man and lawmaker, has been criticized for outbursts deemed racist, mysogynist and homophobic.

Earlier this year, Marielle Franco, a Rio city councillor who was an outspoken critic of police violence against slum residents, was assassinated.

It was the latest freakish twist in a presidential race in which the most popular candidate, former president and leftist hero Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is trying to run from prison.

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