Brazil education minister jailed

Brazil’s education minister is risking going to jail for failing to wear a face mask in public at a rally for President Jair Bolsonaro, who has himself repeatedly flouted Brasilia’s masks-in-public rule amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Abraham Weintraub, one of the far-right president’s most controversial ministers, appeared at a rally organized by Bolsonaro supporters Sunday without a face-mask.

He shook hands and postured for photos with protesters who also went without masks, which have been mandatory in public in the Brazilian capital since April.

That got him a 2,000-real ($385) fine from the Brasilia district government for being “caught in public without a protective mask,” according to Brazilian media, which ran photos of his fine slip.

Weintraub posted on Twitter he had not yet been informed of the fine but that it seemed genuine.

“They’re trying to shut me up at any price,” he said. Bolsonaro, who has likened the new coronavirus to a “little flu” and denounced the “hysteria” around it, also regularly goes without a mask at weekend rallies by his supporters, though he has not been fined so far.

Weintraub has frequently been entangled in controversy, making anti-Chinese comments that were widely regarded racist, misspelling words in official documents and on Twitter, and recently saying the Supreme Court’s justices are “criminals” and should be “thrown in jail.”

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