Last minute of the assault on the Brazilian Congress by supporters of Bolsonaro

Brazil’s new president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, center, accompanied by his wife, first lady Rosângela “Janja” da Silva, right, and Brazilian indigenous leader and environmentalist Raoni Metuktire, known as Chief Raoni, later of his inauguration ceremony at the National Congress, in Brasilia, on January 1, 2023. (Sergio Lima/AFP/Getty Images)

Today’s unrest comes a week after the inauguration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defeated Jair Bolsonaro in a runoff election on October 30 and is now returning to power after a 12-year hiatus.

The elections came amid a tense and polarized political climate in Brazil, which has been battling high inflation, limited growth and rising poverty.

In the weeks since Bolsonaro’s defeat, thousands of his supporters have gathered at military headquarters across the country, calling on the military to intervene as they claim, without evidence, that the elections were stolen.

The former president’s statements: Bolsonaro alleged that some voting machines failed in the second round with Lula. He issued a petition to void the election ballots.

The head of Brazil’s electoral court rejected that request as “ridiculous and illegal” and “apparently conspiratorial towards the democratic rule of law.”

In his ruling, Alexandre De Moraes, president of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Brazil, said that all electronic ballot models were “perfectly identifiable in a clear, secure and comprehensive manner.”

Bolsonaro’s government said it would cooperate with the transition of power, but the far-right leader stopped short of explicitly acknowledging his electoral defeat and left for the United States ahead of Lula’s inauguration.

Bolsonaro supporters have camped out in the capital ever since. Justice Minister Flavio Dino authorized the Armed Forces to install barriers and guard the Congress building on Saturday due to the continued presence of Bolsonaro supporters. But the crowd broke through those defenses on Sunday.

Past violence: Since Bolsonaro refused to explicitly acknowledge his electoral defeat, there have been other instances of violence in Brazil.

A man was arrested in Brasilia after he was caught trying to enter Lula’s inauguration party with a knife and fireworks, the Federal District State Police said in a statement.

Police also arrested a man on suspicion of planting and possessing explosive devices at the Brasilia International Airport.

The suspect, identified as Oliveira Sousa’s 54-year-old George Washington gas station manager, is a supporter of Bolsonaro and told police in a statement, seen by CNN, that he intended to “create chaos” to prevent Lula take office.

Bolsonaro condemned the Sousa bombing, saying there is “no justification” for a “terrorist act.”

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