Brazil: Congress evacuated by police after Bolsonaro invasion
Hundreds of supporters of former president Jair Bolsonaro attacked Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in Brazil on Sunday.
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DHundreds of supporters of far-right ex-President Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court in Brazil on Sunday, causing extensive damage, according to footage circulating on social media. At least 150 supporters of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro were arrested after looting of Brazil’s main government offices on Sunday, according to several media outlets.
Footage from CNN Brazil shows yellow and green-clad Bolsonarians descending in single file, hands behind their backs, down the Planalto presidential palace surrounded by police. Police attached to the Senate announced that they had arrested 30 people in the Chamber, one of the places of power raided by the Bolsonaros, along with the neighboring Chamber of Deputies, the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.
Brazil’s Congress was evacuated by police hours after it was stormed by hundreds of supporters of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday, an AFP-TV journalist noted. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday condemned the seizure of power in Brazil by “fascist vandals” and ordered a “federal intervention” of police to regain control of the capital’s security. “We will find them all and they will all be punished,” Lula, who was sworn in as president a week ago, said in Araraquara, Sao Paulo state.
URGENT: Occupies the Congress and the Chamber of Deputies. Extremists are already in Salão Verde and in our annexes. There was also an invasion of the Palácio do Planalto. President Lula is no local. pic.twitter.com/lP91pLqTuf— Renato Souza (@reporterenato) January 8, 2023
Demand for military intervention
A week after the inauguration of leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose victory over Jair Bolsonaro they never recognized in October’s presidential election, radical Bolsonarians surprised the security forces. . We can see videos on social networks showing the ruined offices of members of parliament or demonstrators standing on the seats of the Senate hemisphere. The damage to these buildings, which are a wealth of modern architecture and full of works of art, is quite visible.
The area near the Planalto Presidential Palace, the Supreme Court and Three Forces Square, where Congress meets, was cordoned off by the authorities, but the Bolsonarians managed to break through the security cordons. The police, who seemed completely overwhelmed, tried in vain to repel them with tear gas. In the middle of three Force Squares, a mounted police officer was knocked down by assailants armed with sticks and then fell to the ground. On Saturday, Flavo Dino authorized the deployment of agents of the National Force, a special police force that is sometimes sent to different states in case of threats to law and order.
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On social networks, we can see images of parliamentarians’ offices being ransacked, or demonstrators standing on half-dozen seats in the Senate. One sat in the Speaker’s chair in the Upper House, a striking mimic of the pro-Trump protesters in the US Congress two years ago. According to CNN, the protesters set fire to the carpet in the hall of Congress, and the carpet had to be flooded to extinguish the fire. The local press association reported that five journalists were attacked. Among them, an AFP photographer was beaten and all his equipment was stolen.
“Cowardly attack on democracy”
Lula, 77, was not in Brazil on Sunday: he traveled to Araraquara, in the state (southeast) of Sao Paulo, which was devastated by floods at the end of the year. Bolsonarians are already demonstrating in front of military barracks after the far-right president’s narrow defeat to Lula on October 30. They demanded the intervention of the army to prevent the latter from returning to power for a third term after 2003-2010. Some of them blocked the roads for more than a week after the election. Jair Bolsonaro, who never congratulated Lula on his election and avoided the swearing-in ceremony, left Brazil two days before the end of his term and is in Florida, USA.
The investiture took place on January 1 in Brazil without major incident, with the participation of tens of thousands of Lula’s supporters. Chile’s left-wing president, Gabriel Boric, tweeted that he supports Lula’s government “in the face of this cowardly attack on democracy.” His Colombian colleague Gustavo Petro, in turn, condemned the “fascist attack”.