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9 Jan, 2023 12:28

US lawmakers want Bolsonaro deported

Congress Democrats compared the former Brazilian president to Donald Trump and accused him of inciting violent riots at home
US lawmakers want Bolsonaro deported

Democratic Congress members have urged US authorities to extradite former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro to his home country, after his supporters stormed government buildings in the capital, Brasilia, on Sunday.

Bolsonaro has reportedly been living near Orlando, Florida, since December when he fled Brazil and refused to participate in the ceremonial handover of the presidential sash to his successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. 

Speaking to CNN’s Jim Acosta, Texas Democrat Joaquin Castro called on the White House and local authorities in Florida to consider sending the “dangerous” Bolsonaro back to Brazil.

Bolsonaro “should be extradited to Brazil,” Castro told CNN, describing him as an authoritarian who used the “[Donald] Trump playbook” to inspire “domestic terrorists to try to take over the government.”

His message comes after thousands of Bolsonaro’s supporters marched through the Brazilian capital on Sunday, claiming the October presidential elections were compromised.  The demonstrators, who insisted that there were a number of voting irregularities in the election, ended up storming the Brazilian Congress, Supreme Court and presidential Planalto Palace, leading to violent clashes with police.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly denied having any involvement in the unrest, insisting that he only supports peaceful demonstrations, which are “part of democracy.”

Newly inaugurated Brazilian President Lula da Silva has repeatedly referred to his predecessor as a “genocidist,” while the Joe Biden administration and other US officials have compared him to former American president Donald Trump.

“He basically used the Trump playbook to inspire domestic terrorists to try to take over the government,” Casto told CNN, claiming the Sunday protests were reminiscent of the Jan 6 Capitol Hill riots in 2020. 

New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has also weighed in, writing on Twitter that the Brazil protests were the same as the “fascist movements” allegedly orchestrated by Trump when he refused to concede the election to Biden.

Similar views were also expressed by representatives Mark Takano from California and Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, both of whom called the riots an "attack" on democracy.

President Lula, who was in Sao Paulo, 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.”

By Sunday evening, after hours of clashes and hundreds of arrests, riot police managed to regain control of the government buildings using tear gas and water cannons. Police announced that at least 300 people had been detained, and the Justice Minister warned the arrests would continue throughout the night, as the authorities try to identify everyone involved in what he dubbed an act of “terrorism” and an attempted “coup.”