Pro-Bolsonaro roadblocks lose steam

Protests on Brazil's highways have begun to fizzle after far-right President Jair Bolsonaro asked his supporters to clear the blockades they had mounted with trucks after his defeat in the presidential election.

The roadblocks lost steam as the official transition got under way on Thursday, with Bolsonaro briefly meeting the envoy co-ordinating the transfer of power to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

All federal roads were clear of blockades on Thursday evening, according to Brazil's Federal Highway Police, although protesters were still partially blocking highways in 24 locations in five states, down from 126 previously.

The protests erupted on Sunday after Bolsonaro narrowly lost the run-off to Lula and were staged mainly by truckers, one of the president's key constituencies.

Bolsonaro late on Wednesday urged his supporters to end the blockades, saying in a video on social media that the demonstrations were legitimate but the roadblocks were restricting people's right to come and go and hurting the economy.

"Everyone is suffering from the closed roads. I ask you to clear the roads and protest elsewhere," Bolsonaro said.

Access to the port of Paranagua, one of the most important for Brazil's grain exports, was no longer blocked on Thursday morning, authorities said.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro's supporters also gathered outside army barracks in several cities to call for a military intervention to prevent former president Lula returning to office.

Their far-right leader has avoided conceding defeat but authorised his chief of staff, Ciro Nogueira, to begin the transition process.

Thursday's meeting between Bolsonaro and vice president-elect Geraldo Alckmin took place at the presidential palace, said Alckmin, who heads Lula's transition team.

The team had earlier arrived in the capital of Brasilia, launching the process that will culminate with Lula's January 1 inauguration.

"It was positive," Alckmin told reporters of the meeting. He refused to answer whether the incumbent had congratulated him for Sunday's victory.

Bolsonaro spoke about "the federal government's readiness to provide every information, help, so we have a transition that is guided by the public interest", Alkmin said.

Reuters with AP