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Brazilian President Bolsonaro tries to grab cell phone from YouTube heckler, video shows

<i>TV Globo/Reuters</i><br/>Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro grabs YouTuber Wilker Leao's shirt as Leao demonstrates against Bolsonaro's government outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia
TV GLOBO via REUTERS
TV Globo/Reuters
Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro grabs YouTuber Wilker Leao's shirt as Leao demonstrates against Bolsonaro's government outside the Alvorada Palace in Brasilia

By Rodrigo Pedroso and Jennifer Hauser, CNN

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro got physical with a YouTuber who heckled him in the capital Brasilia on Thursday, according to video from Brazilian news station Globo.

As Bolsonaro took selfies with his supporters near the Planalto Palace, the President was questioned by Wilker Leao, an army corporal known for filming his confrontations with the right-wing leader’s supporters and posting them to YouTube.

In the video, Leao can be heard asking Bolsonaro about his alliance with a group of right-wing and center parties called “Centrao,” which holds a large number of seats in Congress.

Bolsonaro and his leftist challenger, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, launched their rival presidential campaigns on Tuesday ahead of the October election.

Lula remains the first choice of 47% of Brazilian voters, according to a nationwide poll from Datafolha Institute released by Folha de S. Paulo newspaper on Thursday night. But the gap is closing with Bolsonaro up three percentage points since the last poll in late July.

According to the Globo video, Leao is seen being pushed by an apparent security officer, and refusing to leave. He begins to insult the President, calling him a “coward” and a “punk.”

“I come here every day, Bolsonaro. Let’s see if you have the guts to get out and talk to me,” Leao says.

The President can be seen exiting his car saying that he wants to talk to Leao. He grabs the YouTuber’s collar. “Come here, come here to talk to me,” he says, reaching for Leao’s phone.

After the scuffle, Bolsonaro and Leao can be seen speaking more calmly.

“You can talk to me all you want, you can talk all you want. There’s no problem. Why this aggressiveness?” Bolsonaro says.

“Because when I talk to you, sir, calmly, when I went there, I was forbidden to go in there again to talk calmly with you, sir,” Leao replies.

Bolsonaro’s press office and Wilker Leao did not respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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