This was the day in which Bolsonaro’s followers tried to attack the democracy of Brazil
(CNN Spanish) — Brazil experienced scenes of chaos this weekend on behalf of hundreds of thousands of followers of former President Jair Bolsonaro who managed to break into four public power buildings in Brasilia, actions that President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva described as an attempted coup d’état .
The irruption, which is considered the worst attack against the country’s institutions since the restoration of democracy four decades ago, began in the afternoon, when a group of hundreds of Bolsonaristas dressed in Brazilian flags managed to break through the established security barriers. by the armed forces and gained access to the Congress building in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, home to the country’s Congress and Supreme Court buildings, and the presidential palace, which were stormed on Sunday.
Minutes later, when the situation was already chaotic, local media reported that by that time they had also gained access not only to Congress, but also to the Federal Supreme Court and the Planalto Presidential Palace, with several rebels walking through the buildings.
They are “fascists,” said President Lula da Silva, who has been in office for just a week after a 12-year hiatus, condemning the attack. “These people are everything abominable about politics…they invaded Congress like vandals, destroying everything in their path.”
Rioters built furniture barricades inside the Planalto Presidential Palace to prevent police from entering the building, and in a scene much like the Storming of the US Capitol two years ago, at the time, a protester sat at the desk of the president of the Brazilian Congress.
They also broke windows, overturned furniture, destroyed works of art and stole the country’s original 1988 Constitution. They also took weapons from a presidential security office, Reuters reported. One of the protesters was seen on social networks with a photo of Bolsonaro saying that he was his “real hero”.
Former President Bolsonaro, who was out of Brazil at the time, condemned the events in a brief message via Twitter.
“Peaceful demonstrations, within the law, are part of democracy. However, the depredations and invasions of public buildings such as those that occurred today, as well as those practiced by the left in 2013 and 2017, escape the rule,” said the former president on Twitter.
An “announced crime”
The confrontation did not wait and soon the police faced Bolsonaristas not only in Brasilia, but throughout the country. Meanwhile, in Brasilia, scenes of chaos continued with riot police and the country’s armed forces coming to control the situation.
On the outskirts of Congress, riot police fired tear gas at protesters who refused to leave the Congress premises. But the disturbances to public order were only part of the crisis, which was still far from over.
The assault raised questions among Lula’s allies about how public security forces in the capital were so unprepared and easily outmatched by rioters who had announced their plans days in advance on social media.
“This absurd attempt to impose the will by force will not prevail,” Brazil’s Justice Minister Flavio Dino said when visiting his ministry’s headquarters.
Gleisi Hoffman, president of the Workers’ Party, said that the Bolsonaro insurrection “is an announced crime against democracy, against the will of the polls and for other interests.” Hoffman said that the Federal District was “irresponsible before the invasion of Brasilia and the National Congress.”
Brazil’s Federal Public Defender’s Office (AGU) asked the Supreme Court to issue an arrest warrant against Federal District Public Security Secretary Anderson Torres and “other public agents responsible for acts and omissions” after the raid on Brazilian federal buildings on Sunday.
Lula also blamed the governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha, a former Bolsonaro ally, saying he did nothing to stop the protesters’ advance. Rocha was temporarily removed from his position for three months by the Federal Supreme Court.
On Sunday night, Rocha posted a video on YouTube apologizing for the assault on federal buildings on behalf of Bolsonaristas and said that what happened was “unacceptable.”
“We did not believe at all that the demonstrations would take the proportions they did. They are true vandals, true terrorists, and they will have the whole fight with me to punish them,” Rocha said.
Order returns to Brazil
At this time, Brazil is experiencing moments of tension, despite the fact that order has been established.
More than 400 people were arrested after the riots on Sunday night, and the Federal District comptroller, Ricardo Cappelli, said that the assault on the Capitol is over.
“The situation is under control,” said Capelli, who was appointed by President Lula this Sunday to manage the security situation in the Federal District.
Brazil has also had to deal in recent months with violence from Bolsonaro’s supporters, who since the electoral defeat in October 2022 have gathered at military barracks across the country calling on the army to intervene, as they claim, without evidence, that the elections were stolen.
So the Lula government has looked for a way to stop them and this Sunday, after the insurrection, the judge of the Supreme Court of Brazil, Alexandre de Moraes, ordered the military to dismantle all the camps of Bolsonaro supporters throughout the country. within 24 hours and told police to arrest protesters still on the streets, according to a court order.
Commanders of the armed forces, police and the defense minister will be held accountable in court if the camps are not dismantled, the judge said, adding that all roads in the country must be cleared by Monday.
Meanwhile, after the violent day that shook the country, Lula arrived at night to make a presence in the Presidential Palace and in the Supreme Court, seizing control of the country’s institutions, and rejecting what he called “coup plotters” of who he said will be identified and punished.
“Tomorrow we resume work at the Planalto Palace. Always Democracy. Good night.”
— With reporting from CNN’s Flora Charner, Pierre Meilhan, Rodrigo Pedroso and Marcia Reverdosa, and Reuters.