On Sunday (January 8), thousands of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stormed into Congress, the Supreme Court, and the presidential palace in protest of Bolsonaro loss to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the runoff to the 2022 Brazilian general election in October 2022.
The violent breach comes a week after Lula da Silva was inaugurated as the new President. According to the Associated Press, the protesters circumvented security barriers, scaled buildings, and broke windows. The buildings are part of the Praça dos Três Poderes (Three Powers Plaza) in Brasília, the capital of Brazil.
“URGENT: Invaders break the windows of the Congress cloakroom and invade the Chamber of Deputies,” tweeted Renato Souza, policy reporter for Portal R7 in Brasília. “Extremists are already in the Green Room and in the building’s annexes. There was also an invasion of the Planalto Palace. President Lula is not on site.”
Reminiscent of the pro-Donald Trump supporters who broke into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, in protest of Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential victory, the far right-wing allies of Bolsonaro believe the election was stolen from him. Many of them, who are dressed in green and yellow to show support for Bolsonaro, are also recording the invasion on their phones and posting it to social media.
Luckily, unlike the January 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C., there is limited personnel inside the buildings in Brasília. Bolsonaro supporters have been protesting since his loss more than two months ago. Many want the military to intervene and reinstate Bolsonaro to power. In some videos posted on Sunday, law enforcement can be seen talking with protestors.
“This absurd attempt to impose their will by force will not prevail,” tweeted Justice Minister Flávio Dino. “The government of the Federal District has ensured there will be reinforcements. And the forces at our disposal are at work.”
According to the AP, Bolsonaro has not yet commented on the events taking place. It was reported before the new year that Bolsonaro would skip Lula da Silva’s inauguration and vacation at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Lula has responded by saying, “They took advantage of the silence on Sunday, when we are still setting up the government, to do what they did. And you know that there are several speeches by the former president encouraging this. And this is also his responsibility and the parties that supported him.”