In this remote Amazon city, the "Soldier of the Homeland" and "the Patriot" hung about the jungle infantry brigade, pleading with the soldiers to stage a military revolution.
"SOS, military! The Soldier, a hulking marine corps reserve who revealed his name only out of dread of going to prison, said, "Save our country!"
The Patriot, a 30-year-old cosmetics saleswoman with similar concerns about being recognized, said, "We want the military forces to ensure law and order."
Since November 1st, when their leader Jair Bolsonaro lost his bid for a second term as president in Brazil's election, the two have been camping outside the base in Boa Vista.
The two are among thousands of protesters who continue to protest outside military facilities around the nation, calling for a coup that never materializes, almost two months after the leftist former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is set to assume office.
"We'll remain here for a year or 120 days if necessary. But we won't give up our country, the 34-year-old Soldier, a former gold miner and marine, vowed. He declared of Lula, "We will not accept this person as our president. We won't ever consent to this.”
They would seem to have the little option since Lula's inauguration is just a few days away.
The 77-year-old hero, who held office from 2003 to 2010, is scheduled to officially retake the presidency on the afternoon of January 1. After four years of activities that saw a rise in Amazon devastation and almost 700,000 Covid fatalities, Vans have started taking Bolsonaro's possessions out of the presidential mansion.
The Bolsonarista protests at military barracks and regional commands have drawn ridicule from many progressives amid some perplexing expressions of loyalty to Brazil's departing president.
Bolsonaro-supporting activists were caught on camera singing the country's national song to a tire during a gathering in the south of Brazil. In other places, people have been seen praying on their knees or yelling hysterically in front of engineers and special operations facilities to incite a revolt.
Videos of strange marching practices have also been mocked on social media.
Though tiny, the protests imply the extreme grassroots movement energized by Bolsonaro's administration is likely to survive his government, thus some analysts advise against mocking them.
The pro-Bolsonaro vigils, according to John D. French, a Latin America professor at Duke University, are "cadet formation." "They are putting together a movement."
Consuelo Dieguez, a journalist who has authored a book on Brazil's growing right, said that she was originally among those who found Bolsonaro's unusual displays of support from his mostly elderly fans amusing.
"At first, I found the whole situation amusing. Where did all these lunatics come from, I pondered.
Dieguez was first amused, but his enjoyment changed as the weeks passed and the protestors consolidated. She said, "I still believe these individuals are crazy, but I no longer find it humorous."
Dieguez's anxiety was unrelated to the size of the protests, which only represent a small portion of the 58 million votes who supported Bolsonaro's unsuccessful campaign against Lula. "God only knows what may have happened to our nation if all of Bolsonaro's supporters had taken to the streets... there would have been an insurrection," she remarked.
She also didn't see any danger in the military carrying out a Bolsonaro-supporting coup. "Bolsonaro is done. He's being abandoned by everyone, she said.
Dieguez was alarmed by the amount of radicalism seen at the gatherings.
People in society thinking and behaving in such a manner is nearly an abnormality, It is startling. How was this created by society? How can people be so unhappy that they feel compelled to protest in front of an army barracks and want military rule? What is happening? … She questioned, "What happened to our culture to generate such radicalized individuals.
The dangers of such radicalization came into sharp focus last month when hardline Bolsonaristas ransacked the capital city of Brasilia and set buses and automobiles on fire in what some saw as an effort to incite a 6 January-style uprising. To protect Lula and his followers from similar violence during his swearing-in event, security has been ramped up.
However, the Soldier and the Patriot insisted that their activities were neither extreme nor anti-democratic and denied being "vandals" or "crooks."
The Soldier urged a military coup to grab power to rid Brazilian politics of kleptomaniacs, saying, "We're family people... we all feel offended, and this is our cry for assistance so the armed forces come and act."
They repeated a torrent of untruths and hints about how Bolsonaro was cheated out of re-election by corrupt voting machines and authoritarian supreme court justices as the sun blazed down on their roadside protest camp.
Bolsonaro was the true winner, according to the Patriot.
The Soldier said, praising a "historic" patriotic movement he claimed had drawn 10,000 residents to the gates of the jungle infantry brigade where he stood, "We demand either a fresh election or for President Bolsonaro to take over."
Only a dozen people were there when the Guardian went, and they were all gathered around banners that said "We ardently desire peace," "Brazil Was Stolen," and "Civil Resistance."
It's absurd, Dieguez remarked. But it's alarmingly absurd.