Pro-Bolsonaro protesters storm Brazil’s Congress
Supporters of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace in the capital on Sunday, just a week after the inauguration of his rival, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Thousands of demonstrators bypassed security barricades, climbed on the roofs, broke windows and invaded all three buildings, which are connected through the vast Three Powers square in Brasilia. Some are calling for a military intervention to restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power. Images on TV channel Globo News showed protesters roaming the presidential palace, many of them wearing green and yellow, the colours of the flag that have also come to symbolise the Bolsonaro government.
Bolsonaro, who flew to Florida ahead of Lula’s inauguration, has not commented on Sunday’s events. Police fired tear gas to try to regain control of the buildings. About 6:30 p.m. local time, less than four hours after the storming, security forces were shown on television backing protesters away from the Supreme Court and marching them down a ramp to the presidential palace with their hands secured behind their backs. But with the damage already done, many in Brazil were questioning how the police had ignored abundant warnings, were unprepared or were somehow complicit.
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Lula said at his news conference there was “incompetence or bad faith″ on the part of police, and that they had been likewise complacent when Bolsonaro supporters rioted in the capital weeks ago. He promised those officers would be punished and expelled.
The incidents recalled the January 6 invasion of the US Capitol. But in this case it is likely that Congress and the Supreme Court had limited personnel inside the buildings on a Sunday.Bolsonaro supporters have been protesting against Lula’s electoral win since October 30, blocking roads, setting vehicles on fires and gathering outside military buildings, asking armed forces to intervene. Many believed election results were fraudulent or unreliable.