Brazil, Bolsonaro supporters storm Parliament: 400 arrests. Lula: “Terrorists will be punished.”

Of Sarah Gandolfi

The agents had lined up in defense of the building but the protesters managed to enter the Congress headquarters. Lula: “Terrorists will be punished.” Police regain control of Parliament

They had announced it and in the end they did it, following in the footsteps of the “Trumpian troops”. Jair Bolsonaro’s followersthe former Brazilian far-right president defeated by Inácio Lula da Silva in the elections

last fall, after days of “siege” on the institutional buildings of Brasilia, on Sunday afternoon they broke through a block of the security forces, who initially would not have reacted to stop them, and have «overgrown» the Presidential Palace of Planaltothe Congress and the headquarters of the Court supreme, posting video on social media and committing various acts of vandalism. An occupation clearly inspired by the assault on the US Capitol by dozens of pro-Trump protestersin January two years ago.

Inside the Planalto, a modernist masterpiece by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, the demonstrators destroyed tables and chairs, also breaking into the office of the President Lula who yesterday was in the state of Sao Paulo, where he organized an emergency meeting with ministers before returning to the capital. Equally extensive was the damage to the building that houses deputies and senators, who did not meet yesterday. The “terrorists”, as the Brazilian press defines them, they broke all the glass on the first floor and barricaded themselves on the second. During the Bolsonarists’ attack on the Supreme Court, one was also stolen copy of the 1988 Constitution: the vandalism was filmed in some videos released by social networks. The copy was located in the courthouse building and was removed and taken to the Praca dos Tres Poderes. According to O Globe the original edition of the Magna Carta, preserved in the museum of the Supreme Court, is instead intact and has not been vandalized.

The military police eventually fired rubber bullets and stun bombs from helicopters to disperse those still trying to enter the buildings. Only after a few hours, the security forces managed to regain control of the three buildings, using tear gas and proceeding to at least 400 arrests. Lula’s first comment was very harsh, who in a television intervention to the nation denounced the “fascist fanatics”, stating that “all those responsible for terrorist acts will be identified and punished”. The president accused the military police of “incompetence or bad faith”. Then, on twitter, he wrote that the vandals had been “encouraged by the speeches” of Bolsonaro.

Dress up in the shirt green-gold of the Brazilian soccer team, which has become a symbol of the nationalist right, hundreds of people have been demonstrating in front of the headquarters for days of the army in Brasiliadenouncing alleged electoral fraud – never demonstrated – in the presidential ballot on October 30, in which Lula da Silva defeated by less by two million Bolsonaro votes.
(Here is Milena Gabanelli’s insight into why the clash between Bolsonaro and Lula is also our business)

In the early afternoon of yesterday, the “bolsonarists”, whom the newspaper O Globo does not hesitate to define as “coup plotters”, they gathered on the Praça dos Três Poderes, the square of the three powers, the heart of the capital. One group managed to get through the security barrier, climb the grand staircase of Congress, occupy the balconies and finally enter the building. Dozens of other people attacked the Planalto and the headquarters of the Supreme Court.

With an emergency decree, Lula effectively exonerated the governor of the federal district of the capital, Ibaneis Rocha, whom many accuse of being close to Bolsonaro and who later apologized publicly, and gave full intervention powers to the federal forces. Exemption then made official during the night by the President of the Federal Supreme Court. Over 2,500 servicemen yesterday evening they were ready to intervene, but the government was reluctant to mobilize the armed forces to restore order in the city while opposition demonstrations were also reported in São Paulo.

Jair Bolsonaro, who left Brazil 48 hours before Lula took office, which took place on January 1, to fly to Orlando, Florida, he tweeted: “Peaceful demonstrations, according to the law, are part of democracy. Looting and invasions of public buildings such as those of today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, are illegal.

So the Bolsonarists are not giving up. After the roadblocks, with trucks and tractors, which had paralyzed the whole of Brazil in the aftermath of the vote, resolved only after Bolsonaro had invitedwithout too much conviction, his supporters to clear the main arteries of the country, land demonstrations continued in the capital and in many other major cities in Brazil.

The condemnation of the USA, the EU and the UN

The Minister of Justice, Flavio Dino, convinced all governors to sign a unanimous condemnation of the assaults. “It was an act of coup. The takeover that the demonstrators are talking about can only happen in 2026, with a new election,” he said. Even the international community, from Washington to Brussels, immediately expressed solidarity with Lula. And in the night the Italian premier Giorgia Meloni tweeted: «The images of the irruption in institutional settings are unacceptable and incompatible with any form of democratic dissent». Condemnation that also came from the UN with a note expressing “concern about the events” in Brasilia.

January 8, 2023 (change January 9, 2023 | 05:19)

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Brazil, Bolsonaro supporters storm Parliament: 400 arrests. Lula: “Terrorists will be punished.”

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