On Sunday, supporters of Brazil’s right-leaning former president Jair Bolsonaro attacked and destroyed the country’s Congress and the presidential palace. This was a stark echo of the two-year-old U.S. Capitol invasion by Trump-loving fans.
Although there were no immediate reports that they had caused any injuries or deaths, the intruders made a mess of Congress, flooding it with water, and stealing the Supreme Court’s ceremonial rooms.
Tensions had been building for months after the Oct. 30 presidency vote, when thousands of protesters in yellow and green ran riot across the capital.
This uprising lasted just over three hours and highlighted the deep polarization in the country, days after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was sworn in. He defeated Bolsonaro during the October elections.
Lula said that “these vandals” (who we can call…fanatical fascists) did something unprecedented in this country’s history during a press conference held on the occasion of a state visit to Sao Paulo. All those responsible for this act will be caught and punished.
Lula announced that a federal security operation in Brasilia would be conducted until January 31st after the capital security forces had been overwhelmed initially by invaders. He also blamed Bolsonaro, accusing him of inflaming his support after making baseless accusations about election fraud.
The President’s Allies raised concerns about the preparedness and ease of overwhelm by protesters, who planned on using social media for several days in order to organize their weekend demonstrations.
Bolsonaro is a Trump acolyte who still refuses to admit defeat. He made the fraudulent claim that Brazil’s electronic vote system was susceptible to fraud. This spawned a violent movement against election deniers.
Lula stated that Bolsonaro flew from Bolsonaro to Florida just 48 hours prior to the expiration of his term. He was not present at Lula’s inauguration. Everyone knows that there are many speeches by the former president encouraging such things.
Bolsonaro’s presidency was marred by nationalist populism and division. He was silent about Brasilia for six hours before tweeting that he had “repudiated” Lula’s allegations against him.
Since losing the election the former president has not spoken publicly. He also stated that peaceful protests were part of democracy, but invading or damaging public buildings is “crossing the line.”
Bolsonaro could be exposed to greater legal risk by the violence in Brasilia. The U.S. authorities are also facing problems as they try to determine how best to manage Bolsonaro’s stay in Florida. Bolsonaro could not be granted “refugee status” by the United States, according to prominent Democratic legislators.
Frederick Wassef (bolsonaro family attorney) did not reply to my request for comment.
Security forces managed to take back three of the most famous buildings in the capital by 6:30 PM local (2130 GMT).
Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha is a Bolsonaro long-time ally and faces tough questions following Sunday’s security breaches. He stated on Twitter that more than 400 people were arrested, with authorities working to find more.
Leaders around the globe condemned these invasions.
The events were called an “assault upon democracy and peaceful transfer of power” by Joe Biden, the U.S. president. He also stated that Brazil’s democratic institutions received full U.S. support.
Brazilian industry was far away from the capital. Bolsonaro supporters were threatening new unrest. Their post-election blockade of highways has disrupted grain shipments and killed meatpacking workers in recent months.
In a precautionary move, Petrobras the state-owned oil company has increased security at its refineries in response to threats made against Brazil’s largest fuel facility.
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, or PETR4.SA as it is officially known, stated in a statement all of its assets and refineries were operating normally.
Analysts warn that the unrest in Brazil could cause more volatility in Brazil’s financial markets. These have been swinging sharply over recent weeks due to doubts regarding how Lula will balance big spending promises and stretched public finances.
According to social media images, the invaders ransacked the Supreme Court of Justice Alexandre de Moraes who has long been an opponent of Bolsonaro’s crusading Justice Alexandre de Moraes. These photos show protesters smashing windows and chopping security cameras.
Moraes, as well as Chief Justice Rosa Weber of the Court, promised punishment to the terrorists who attacked democratic institutions in the country. According to sources familiar with the matter, the heads of each house of Congress condemned the attack publicly and made plans to return to Washington.
Rocha, Brasilia’s governor said that he fired Anderson Torres (previously Bolsonaro’s justice minister), as his top security officer. According to the solicitor general, Torres had been requested for arrest.
Website UOL reported that Torres was on vacation with his family in America and hadn’t met Bolsonaro. UOL stated that he was currently in Orlando.
With rumors of an impending confrontation in Brasilia on Saturday, Flavio Dino, the Justice Minister, authorized the deployment of the National Public Security Force. He tweeted that Sunday’s absurd attempt at imposing the will of force would not succeed.
Trump supporters stormed Washington’s Capitol in 2021. They broke through barricades, attacked police, and tried to stop the congressional approval of Joe Biden’s 2020 victory.
Trump has made it clear that he will be seeking a third term as president in 2024. He had previously pressured Mike Pence to not certify the vote and continues to falsely claim that the 2020 election was stolen through extensive fraud.