ASupporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have stormed the congress in the capital Brasília. They smashed the windows of the facade and entered the entrance hall, as was seen on Globo TV on Sunday.
Hundreds of demonstrators had previously entered the Parliament premises and climbed onto the roof of the building. Their number was estimated at around 3000. Police used pepper spray and stun grenades but were unable to stop supporters of former right-wing leader Bolsonaro.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are located in the Congress building. The images brought back memories of the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.
“I condemn these anti-democratic acts that urgently need to be punished with the harshness of the law,” Senate President Rodrigo Pacheco wrote on Twitter. “I was on the phone with Federal District Governor Ibaneis Rocha, with whom I am in regular contact. The governor informed me that the entire police force is focused on bringing the situation under control.”
After the attack on Congress, Bolsonaro supporters also moved to the Supreme Court. The news portal G1 reported that they threw in windows and entered the lobby. Later they moved accordingly to the seat of government Palácio do Planalto. Videos on Twitter are said to show that the demonstrators also entered the presidential palace.
Right-wing President Bolsonaro lost to left-wing politician Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the runoff last October and left office at the turn of the year. He had never explicitly acknowledged his electoral defeat. Even after the election, radical supporters of the ex-military had repeatedly protested against Lula’s victory and called on the country’s armed forces to stage a military coup.
Contrary to custom, Bolsonaro did not attend the inauguration of his successor Lula on New Year’s Day and flew to the United States with his family. Before departing for Florida, he addressed his followers and called them to fight against Lula. This is his third term in office. He was head of state from 2003 to 2010.
The gap between the two camps in society is wider than it has ever been since the country’s return to democracy in 1985. During the election campaign, both politicians made massive allegations of corruption, for example, and thus contributed to the polarization of society. Lula was convicted of bribery in 2018 and spent a year and a half in prison. In 2021, the verdicts against him were overturned. His time in prison enhanced his sense of social justice, sources said.