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8 Jan, 2023 19:24

Bolsonaro supporters storm three branches of power in Brazil (VIDEOS)

The rioters targeted the National Congress, the Supreme Court and the presidential palace
Bolsonaro supporters storm three branches of power in Brazil (VIDEOS)

Supporters of right-wing former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro have swarmed the country's Three Powers Plaza, climbing the roof of the National Congress and ransacking multiple government buildings, following weeks of unrest and claims of election fraud. 

Chaotic scenes erupted in the capital Brasilia Video on Sunday, with videos posted to social media showing the rioters also attacking the Supreme Court building as well. Water can be seen pouring out of a broken window and makeshift lettering pasted on another window as demonstrators, many clutching or wearing Brazilian flags, survey the damage. The court had slapped Bolsonaro with a hefty fine in November over his efforts to challenge the results of the presidential race, accusing him of acting in bad faith.

The protesters also broke into the Planalto Palace, the official workplace of the president of Brazil, according to other footage. While local media reports placed the crowd size at around 3,000 people, reports by police in the Federal District of Brasilia cited on social media suggested they were concerned they might be outnumbered by the demonstrators.

Bolsonaro’s successor Lula da Silva, inaugurated last week, was on official trip in Sao Paulo during the attack. Bolsonaro made a point of avoiding the ceremonial transition of power to his left-wing rival, opting to fly to Florida ahead of the date. The former leader left behind a tearful farewell message to supporters in which he reiterated that his electoral defeat had been unfair, while condemning the violent protests that followed.

As local authorities struggled to contain the unrest, the president was forced to declare a state of emergency in the Federal District of Brasilia, appointing justice minister Ricardo Garcia Capelli to lead the “federal intervention.”

Since Lula’s narrow electoral victory in October, supporters of the former president have blocked roads, set vehicles on fire, and even surrounded military buildings, in an effort to try to convince soldiers inside to overthrow the new government.

Many observers pointed out similarities between the events in the Federal District and the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. In both cases, supporters of a right-wing leader ousted in a hotly-contested election swarmed government buildings that had been left largely unguarded, meeting with little if any resistance from authorities. Like their American counterparts, the Bolsonaro supporters came outfitted with their nation’s flags and messaging for the crowd - “We want the source code,” one banner dropped from the roof of the Congress read, presumably referring to the voting machines whose integrity Bolsonaro had questioned.