Brazil’s police gather at Bolsonaro’s supporters’ camp after storming the capital. On Monday, a day after rioters carried out the deadliest attack on Brazil’s state institutions since the country’s return to democracy in the 1980s, Brazilian police deployed to a camp of supporters of far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro in the capital.
After thousands of Bolsonaro supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace on Sunday, Reuters witnesses said that hundreds of police in riot gear and some on horseback gathered at the campsite outside Brasilia’s army headquarters, while soldiers in the area withdrew.
Demonstrators smashed windows and furniture, destroyed artwork, and stole guns and artifacts; President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bolsonaro’s leftist adversary who took office on January 1 after a narrow election win in October, promised to bring those guilty for the violence to justice.
Meanwhile, Bolsonaro, currently in Florida, denied inciting his fans and stated the riots had “stepped the line,” as did US Vice President Joe Biden and other foreign leaders.
For suspected security lapses, Brasilia’s governor was suspended for 90 days by Supreme Court Justice Alexandre de Moraes late on Sunday night. He also demanded that anti-democratic profiles be removed from popular social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok.
On Monday, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced it would be removing posts that condoned or praised the weekend’s looting of government buildings in Brazil. Requests for comment sent to Telegram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube were not immediately met with a response.
Lula, a prominent union organizer and president from 2003 to 2010, claimed that the local militarised police force that reports to Brasilia Governor Ibaneis Rocha, a former Bolsonaro backer, did nothing to impede the advance of the protestors.
In response to the “fascist” attack, Lula ordered federal intervention in public security in the capital. She threatened exemplary punishment for the perpetrators, hoping a military coup would return Bolsonaro to power.
Lula assured reporters in Sao Paulo State, “All the persons who committed this would be caught and punished.”
After his leadership ended, he was known for his divisive nationalist populism, but he accused Bolsonaro of inflaming his supporters with his campaign of false charges of electoral fraud.
Bolsonaro, who traveled to Florida 48 hours before his presidency expired, denied the allegations. Violent protests “stepped the line,” he tweeted, whereas nonviolent demonstrations were democratic.
Lula’s supporters were left wondering how the city’s security personnel could have been so unprepared for rioters planning their actions for the weekend on social media for days before the attack.
Biden, European leaders, Latin American heads of state, and others unanimously condemned the invasion, which recalled the attack on the US Capitol two years ago by supporters of former president Donald Trump.
German chancellor Olaf Scholz warned on Monday that violent attacks against democratic institutions are an attack on democracy that cannot be permitted. Rishi Sunak, the prime minister of Britain, strongly any attempt to disrupt the orderly transition of power.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, stated that Russia condemned “in the harshest terms” the acts of those responsible for the unrest.
When the Brazilian markets open on Monday, they will suffer losses.
After three hours, the police retook the damaged public buildings in the futuristic capital and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Justice Minister Flavio Dino reported that 200 protesters had been taken into custody. Before the court made its decision public, Governor Rocha tweeted that there were 400.
Dino said authorities would look into Rocha’s failure to prepare for potential security threats and who paid for the hundreds of buses carrying Bolsonaro’s supporters to Brasilia.
For at least two weeks, Bolsonaro’s supporters had been organizing in groups on social media messaging platforms like Telegram and Twitter to occupy government buildings in what one group called “the seizure of power by the people.” Despite this, security forces did not intervene to stop the attack.
Throughout the week, Reuters saw messages suggesting that members of such groups were arranging meeting spots in many towns around the country from which chartered vehicles would depart for Brasilia to occupy public buildings.
The plan called for demonstrators to continue camping in front of Brasilia’s army command headquarters, where they had been since Lula’s electoral victory in October.
Protesters began arriving on Brasilia’s esplanade in the early afternoon on Sunday. Rather than being corralled, they were escorted by automobiles equipped with flashing lights by the Military Police.
Two hours after the incursions began, riot police finally showed up.
Bolsonaro’s future in the United States is uncertain after he traveled there on a visa usually reserved for incumbent presidents. He is the subject of many investigations before Brazil’s Supreme Court.
Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro said on CNN, “Bolsonaro should not be in Florida.” This autocrat who has stoked domestic terrorism in Brazil has no place in the United States. It’s time to deport him back to Brazil.