A week after left-wing politician Lula took office, hatred of the new government broke out. Thousands of supporters of right-wing ex-President Bolsonaro storm Congress and the seat of government. The action is reminiscent of the incidents in Washington two years ago.
Radical supporters of ex-President Jair Bolsonaro have stormed the government district in the Brazilian capital Brasília and briefly seized control of the country’s most important state powers. On Sunday (local time) they entered the National Congress, the Supreme Court and the government seat Palácio do Planalto and rioted in boardrooms and offices.
Bolsonaro has condemned the storm of hundreds of his supporters on the government district in Brasília. “Looting and penetrating public buildings, as happened today,” violates the “rule” for “peaceful demonstrations,” Bolsonaro wrote on Sunday evening (local time) on Twitter. He himself defends himself against the “unsubstantiated allegations” of the current President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva – who accused Bolsonaro of “encouraging” the attackers.
It took hours for the security forces to bring the situation back under control. The military police advanced with cavalry squadrons and armored vehicles to the Square of the Three State Powers in the center of the capital. Special forces use tear gas, helicopters circled over the government district. Around 230 suspects were arrested, according to Justice Minister Flavio Dino. Several politicians close to Bolsonaro distanced themselves from the attackers.
Inside the buildings, the rioters gave free rein to their hatred of the new left-wing government. They knocked over chairs and desks, smashed windows, damaged works of art and scrawled slogans on the walls. One attacker even took the office door of federal judge Alexandre de Moraes, who was particularly hated by Bolosonaro supporters, as a trophy.
Especially at the beginning of the riots, the police did not cut a good figure. For days, numerous Bolsonaro supporters have been camping in front of the armed forces’ headquarters. When around 4,000 other supporters of the ex-president arrived in buses in the capital on Saturday and Sunday and moved to the government district, they were even escorted by officials. Police officers took selfies with the demonstrators and filmed cellphone videos, as seen on television.
Brazil’s President Lula strongly condemned the attack by Bolsonaro supporters. The left-wing head of state, who was in the southeastern city of Araraquara on Sunday, spoke of an attack by “fascist vandals”. Lula signed a decree giving federal authorities special powers to restore security in Brasília. The police initially seemed completely overwhelmed by the attacks by Bolsonaro supporters. Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva put the security forces in the capital under the command of the federal government to bring security back under control in Brasília.
The head of the ruling Workers’ Party (PT) also spoke up and raised serious allegations against those responsible in the capital Brasília. “The federal district government was irresponsible in the face of the invasion of Brasília and the National Congress,” Gleisi Hoffmann wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “It was an announced crime against democracy, against the will of the voters and for other interests. The governor and his secretary of security, a Bolsonaro supporter, are responsible for everything that happens.”
As a first reaction, the security chief of the capital Brasília, Anderson Torres, was fired as a result of the attack. “I have decided to dismiss the Minister of Security of the Federal District and at the same time sent all security forces into the streets to arrest and punish those responsible,” Federal District Governor Ibaneis Rocha wrote on Twitter. “I am in Brasília to observe the demonstrations and take all measures to curb the anti-democracy riots in the government district.”