- Supporters of Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsonaro have invaded Congress and the country’s Supreme Court.
- Bolsonaro lost the presidential runoff on October 30 to the leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
- Comparisons have been made between the scenes in Brasilia and the invasion of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Supporters of Brazil’s far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro have invaded the country’s Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in Brasilia, in a sad echo of the invasion of the US Capitol nearly two years ago by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
The sight of thousands of protesters dressed in yellow and green wreaking havoc in the capital ended months of tension after the most difficult election in a generation.
who lost the October 30 vote to leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, floated the false claim that Brazil’s electronic voting system was prone to fraud, and sparked a violent movement of denialists elections
The invasion poses an immediate problem for Lula, and has pledged to unite a nation broken by Bolsonaro’s nationalist populism.
Television footage showed protesters entering the Supreme Court and Congress, smashing furniture. Local media estimated around 3,000 people involved.
Lula was away from the capital, on an official trip to the state of São Paulo. Bolsonaro, who has barely spoken in public since losing the election, left Brazil for Florida 48 hours before the end of his term and was absent from Lula’s inauguration.
The violent scenes in Brasilia could amplify the legal risks for Bolsonaro, who has so far not commented on the invasions.
The Supreme Court was ransacked by the occupiers, according to images posted on social media that showed protesters breaking the windows of the modernist building.
Many of the protesters are disputing the outcome of Brazil’s presidential election. Source: AP / Eraldo Peres
A policeman on horseback was surrounded by shouting protesters armed with sticks that knocked him off his mount.
Lula’s Workers’ Party asked the country’s top prosecutor’s office to order public security forces to act to contain the protesters.
Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Workers’ Party, wrote on Twitter that the breaches were “an announced crime against democracy” and “against the will of the ballot box”.
Many of the protesters who have camped in Brasilia dispute the outcome of the elections.
President Lula had pledged to unite Brazil after years of Jair Bolsonaro’s nationalist populism. Source: AP / Eraldo Peres
On Saturday, with rumors of a confrontation, Justice Minister Flávio Dino authorized the deployment of the National Public Security Force. On Sunday, he wrote on Twitter, “this absurd attempt to impose the will by force will not prevail.”
Latin American leaders were quick to condemn the scenes.
“All my solidarity with Lula and the people of Brazil,” Colombian President Gustavo Petro tweeted. “Fascism decides to stage a coup”.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric says Lula’s government has his full support “in the face of this cowardly and vile attack on democracy.”