Brazil: Ex-president Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters storm presidential palace, Supreme Court
The violence took place eight days after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva replaced Bolsonaro as the president.
Hundreds of supporters of former Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro stormed the country’s Congress, presidential palace and Supreme Court on Sunday, eight days after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva replaced him, AFP reported.
Protestors dressed in yellow and black scaled the roof of the Congress and unfurled a poster seeking military intervention to stop Silva.
Some of the rioters threw furniture through broken windows of the presidential palace, flooded parts of the Congress with a sprinkler system and ransacked several rooms in the Supreme Court, according to Reuters.
In response to the violence, the police fired tear gas, initially to no avail. Later, authorities deployed riot police on horseback and tear gas bombs were fired from helicopters.
However, the violence continued till early evening on Sunday.
Commenting on the violence, Lula blamed Bolsonaro for leading a baseless campaign alleging electoral fraud following the end of his tenure. “This genocidist ... is encouraging this via social media from Miami,” Lula said. “Everybody knows there are various speeches of the ex-president encouraging this.”
Bolsonaro, who is yet to concede defeat, went to the state of Florida in the United States after the election.
The president on Sunday asserted that the rioters will be found and punished. “These vandals, who we could call... fanatical fascists, did what has never been done in the history of this country,” he said.
Bolsonaro remained silent about the riots for about six hours before stating on Twitter that he “repudiates” Lula’s accusations against him. He added that peaceful protests are a part of democracy, but invading public buildings “crosses the line”.
Amid the violence, Lula signed a decree declaring a federal intervention in the capital city of Brasilia, giving the government special powers to restore law and order.
In the election held in October, Lula had secured 50.3% of the vote compared with 49.7% for Bolsonaro. However, Bolsonaro had refused to concede defeat and raised doubts on the reliability of Brazil’s electronic voting system. Following his allegations, his loyalists had called for a military coup to stop Lula from assuming the president’s role.
The violence in Brazil was reminiscent of riots at the United States capitol in 2021 after the presidential election results in the country.
Supporters of Donald Trump, who lost the 2020 US presidential elections, had stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC on January 6, 2021 – the day when the US Congress affirmed President Joe Biden’s victory.
World leaders condemn violence
Leaders from around the world criticised the violence in Brasilia and said that institutions must be respected.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he was deeply concerned about the violence. “Democratic traditions must be respected by everyone,” he said. “We extend our full support to the Brazilian authorities.”
United States President Joe Biden said that he condemns the “assault on democracy and on the peaceful transfer of power” in the South American country.
“Brazil’s democratic institutions have our full support and the will of the Brazilian people must not be undermined. I look forward to continuing to work with [Lula].”
European Council President Charles Michel expressed support for Lula, and said he had been elected “by millions of Brazilians through fair and free elections”.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric said that the violence was a “cowardly and vile attack on democracy,” according to AFP.